Seven miles of coastline and several beaches now affected by an estimated 215 gallons of an unknown oil

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DNREC Emergency Response has no reported or sighted impacts to wildlife, and also noted the vast numbers of shorebirds and horseshoe crabs that flock to the Bay coast each summer had departed on their annual migration elsewhere.

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY DNREC | PHOTO SUBMITTED BY DNREC | The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control made an emergency response to Broadkill Beach where they located an estimated 215 gallons of oil that washed ashore. The source of the oil spill is under investigation.

BROADKILL BEACH (DE): As the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues working today to assess and clean up an oil spill that came ashore Monday at Broadkill Beach, officials now say that the spill has affected several more southerly coastal locations, including Beach Plum Island near Cape Henlopen, the Roosevelt Inlet and Lewes.

The spill, which is estimated to be about 215 gallons or approximately five barrels of an unknown oil, had been carried out into the Delaware Bay by Monday night’s high tide and had dispersed elsewhere on the coast by noon Tuesday.

DNREC and the U.S. Coast Guard were deploying environmental contractors in the Broadkill area Tuesday morning to clean up as much oil as possible before another tide carried more oil out into the bay. More cleanup workers from Coast Guard contractors as well as mobilized DNREC staff were expected on the coast throughout the day.

The spill, which officials say spanned three-quarters of a mile of upper Delaware Bay coastline, was estimated Tuesday morning to have spread to up to 7 miles of beach, with DNREC noting that tide had fragmented the oil from larger pooling to smaller-size speckling on the beaches.

On Monday, DNREC’s Emergency Response Team 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.

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY DNREC | The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control made an emergency response to Broadkill Beach where they located an estimated 215 gallons of oil that washed ashore. The source of the oil spill is under investigation.

While the source of the oil spill was still unknown, DNREC provided samples of the oil Tuesday to the U.S. Coast Guard to be analyzed for a “petroleum fingerprint” that might determine where it came from. The oil was described by DNREC Emergency Response as a “heavy fuel oil” likely leaking from an operating vessel, not crude oil from the hold of a tanker.

DNREC Emergency Response has no reported or sighted impacts to wildlife, and also noted the vast numbers of shorebirds and horseshoe crabs that flock to the Bay coast each summer had departed on their annual migration elsewhere.

To report any oil sighted on- or offshore contact DNREC’s toll-free environmental hotline (800-662-8802).

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