Oil spill has spread down to Ocean City, DNREC says

DNREC oil spill cleanup
DNREC posted this photo Monday morning that shows workers continue to clean Delaware beaches.

An oil spill reported a week ago in Bowers Beach has spread to Ocean City, Maryland, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said today on Twitter.

And there’s progress in the cleanup. About 55 tons – enough to fill four construction dumpsters – had been recovered through Sunday under the unified command of the US Coast Guard and DNREC.

“Our crews and technology are yielding positive results,” USCG Lt. Cmdr. Fredrick Pugh, federal incident commander, said in a statement released today. “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 their beaches back.”

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

oil spill cleanup
Another photo of the cleanup from DNREC’s Twitter.

More than 100 people have been engaged in the cleanup operation daily. 

Lewes and Dewey Beach closed their beaches temporarily due to the oil that washed ashore, some settling into a gravel-like substance, known as tar balls. 

The 4-wheel drive surf fishing crossing at Delaware Beach Plum Island Preserve, overseen by Delaware State Parks, remains closed so cleanup operations will not be hampered.

The unified command received additional reports of oiled birds, but they were not encumbered by the oil. Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research of Newark remains on standby.

People are urged not to handle any oily product found or attempt to assist affected wildlife, but to report these findings to DNREC’s environmental hotline at 800-662-8802.

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