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EPA, DNREC Assume Oversight of Oil Spill Cleanup

Release Date: 07/26/2006
Contact Information: (EPA) David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548 & (DNREC) Ellen Malenfant, (302) 739-9404

WILMINGTON, Del. - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has assumed the federal oversight role of the unified command from the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) following the response to a 2,100 gallon oil spill into the Christina River from the International Petroleum Corporation (IPC) of Delaware.

The spill occurred on July 15. Initial response activities were conducted by the USCG, DNREC and EPA. EPA and DNREC are overseeing continued response activities and the clean-up of the spilled oil products which are being conducted by USFilter, operator of the IPC facility. Approximately 1,739 gallons of oily liquid have been recovered. Free product collection operations were halted as of July 21, as all recoverable free product had been collected. Oily sheen is present in isolated sections on the Christina River and Brandywine Creek, including the Port of Wilmington dock. Boat crews are placing absorbent materials and booms to contain and reduce sheen in these areas as needed. Waterways have been opened to traffic. Approximately 10 large capacity containers of contaminated debris have been collected and will be disposed of at a specialized solid waste landfill.

DNREC, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Trustees for National Resource Damages) are seeking an agreement with IPC to formally pursue assessment of potential natural resource injuries associated with the oil spill. These potential injuries could include but are not limited to: recreational use, shoreline habitat, and fish and wildlife injuries.

Tri-State Bird Rescue, contracted by IPC, has recovered 82 waterfowl which were impacted by the spill. Of those recovered, 20 waterfowl have been released from care, 52 are currently being treated, and eight have died.

The clean-up and restoration activities will continue until the river and adjacent waterways have been cleaned to standards acceptable to the unified command.