Jump to main content.

Press Release

Swanson Creek Oil Spill

Phone: (301) 579-2023 or (972) 797-2527

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO)

April 20, 2000

Continuous Progress Made on the Patuxent River Entire River Open to Boaters

The Unified Command Center has determined that the cleanup situation has stabilized and significant progress has been made in environmentally sensitive areas. For safety reasons, the Command has determined that all cleanup efforts will take place during daylight hours.

No free-floating oil has been observed on the Patuxent River for the fifth consecutive day, prompting the pulling of protective containment booms in certain areas. Some of these booms will remain available on the shoreline, however, as a precautionary measure. Booms remain in marshes to ensure that stranded oil remains contained until removed.

Approximately 600 people are currently recovering oil and cleaning shoreline at various sites. The Environmental Protection Agency, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Coast Guard, PEPCO and its contractors are providing manpower as well as technical expertise. Other experts working to return the water and affected shoreline areas to safe and usable standards include NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

More than 29,000 gallons of oil have been collected to date. Cleaning operations are currently underway at Golden Beach, Cremona Creek, Spring Creek, Coatigan Creek, Cat Creek, Roslin Creek, Trent Hall Creek, Indian Creek and Cole Creek.

Crews are increasing their cleanup efforts in specific beach areas due to the upcoming nesting of Diamondback Terrapins. Beaches currently being cleaned up in the terrapin effort include Golden Beach, Trent Hall, Marsh Point, Horse Landing, Sheridan Point, Rolin Creek and Cole Creek. Horn Pond Weed has been detected in the water and on the shorelines of the Patuxent River. The presence of these weeds is a good sign that vegetation is able to grow in the affected areas.


  1. The entire Patuxent River is open to vessel traffic. However, there are creeks that remain boomed off. Vessels entering boomed areas will be fined up to $25,000. In addition, vessel traffic is asked to keep the wake down where booms or cleanup crews are present. Inquiries from commercial vessels requiring transit into boomed areas can be directed to Coast Guard activities Baltimore Port Safety and Security at (410) 576-2693. Recreational users should contact the on-scene Maryland Natural Resources police officer at (888) 584-3110.
  2. The Maryland Department of the Environment has stated that in the area of the Patuxent River and tributaries where the presence of petroleum products has been observed, fish and crabs should not be harvested commercially or recreationally. These areas may be identified by a surface sheen, oil on the beach or the smell of petroleum. - The Maryland Department of the Environment has also closed oyster and clam beds in the Patuxent River that lie north of the Thomas Johnson Bridge on Route 4.
  3. At this time, residents should not use beaches and shorelines impacted by the spill for recreational purposes. Pets and livestock should not be allowed access to areas contaminated by the spill. If contact should occur, oil can be removed with mild detergent.

Websites where you can find more spill-related information:

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Superfund |EPA Home | EPA Superfund Homepage

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.