Oil spill washes ashore at Broadkill Beach

Photo shared by Eleanor Lindsay.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control responded this afternoon to reports of an oil spill estimated at five barrels or about 215 gallons of oil from an unknown source that washed ashore at Broadkill Beach. DNREC’s Emergency Response Team was working into the evening to survey impacts and plan a cleanup of the spill.

The spill spanned three-quarters of a mile of upper Delaware Bay coastline, depositing much of the oil that came ashore in the sand at Broadkill. DNREC’s Emergency Response environmental staff gauged the size of the spill after collaborating with Delaware State Police’s Aviation Unit on a reconnaissance flight over the upper Bay. DNREC will provide samples of the oil to the U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday to be analyzed for a “petroleum fingerprint” that might determine its source, and will work with the Coast Guard’s environmental contractor to clean up the spill.

DNREC also cautioned that, with an outgoing tide this evening, the oil is likely to migrate elsewhere along the Delaware coast tomorrow, and asked that residents of coastal communities contact DNREC’s environmental hotline (800-662-8802) to report any oil spotted either on- or offshore. DNREC Emergency Response surveyed other bay beaches this afternoon after the Broadkill spill was reported, but found no evidence that oil had come ashore elsewhere on Delaware Bay. DNREC will provide updates Tuesday morning.

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