Update: Oil Spill Cleanup Enters 2nd Week

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The cleanup of oil patties from Delaware beaches enters its second week.


The Delaware Department of Natural Resources says about 55 tons, or four construction dumpsters’ worth of oil blobs, polluted sand and other debris had been removed as of Sunday afternoon. DNREC and the US Coast Guard are managing the unified command.

“The job of removing oil from our beaches is challenging and labor-intensive, but we’re making progress,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “Our teams are getting more and more of it off our beaches every hour, every day.”

Small blobs of oil and oily debris have been detected between Slaughter Beach and the north side of Indian River Inlet over the weekend. Lewes and Dewey Beach temporarily closed their beaches due to tar balls and oil on the beaches. An informational advisory originally issued for bay beaches last week was instead to some ocean beaches. Areas under the advisory include Slaughter Beach, Fowler Beach, Prime Hook Beach, Broadkill Beach, Lewes, Cape Henlopen State Park, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach and the Indian River Inlet.

“Our crews and technology are yielding positive results,” Lt. Cmdr. Fredrick Pugh, federal incident commander for the response said. “We’re seeing a lot of this pollutant coming off of our beaches by the ton and that feels like a high level of productivity, but we’re not letting up. These communities need its beaches back.”

66 oiled birds have been treated so far, according to Tri State Bird Rescue and Research. DNREC continues to discourage anyone from touching oil deposits may encounter on the beaches. Sightings should be reported to the DNREC environmental hotline at 800-662-8802.