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For Immediate Release

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Swanson Creek Marsh Cleanup Update

· Overnight Containment Efforts Effective
· Open River Oil Collection in Progress
· Shoreline Cleanup Launched
· Status of Affected Wildlife

For Immediate Release
April 11, 2000

Aquasco, Md.-High winds that hampered the cleanup operation during the weekend abated Sunday night, enabling workers to reposition the floating containment booms in Swanson Creek and preventing additional oil from entering the river Monday.

Oil spill cleanup operations continued today under coordination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of the Environment with assistance from hundreds of Pepco workers and private contractors, joined by officials from other federal, state, county and local government agencies. They worked around-the-clock to prevent further spread of about 111,000 gallons of fuel oil that leaked from a twelve-mile branch of a 51-mile underground pipeline on April 7, at 6:00 p.m. near Pepco's Chalk Point Generating Station.

High force winds over the weekend pushed some oil over containment booms in Swanson Creek and into the Patuxent River. Aided by Monday's calm weather, workers repositioned the booms and were able to prevent further oil from leaving the creek area near the power plant. The containment booms helped to funnel oil towards the creek bank where workers used vacuum trucks to suction it up. Absorbent blankets and other materials also were used to remove the oil.

More than 100 Pepco workers have started scouring a stretch of several miles of shoreline on the Calvert County side of the Patuxent River where oil had come ashore. Oil skimming boats and barges from the Navy and private contractors were skimming the river for oil.

RESPONSE STATUS -5 p.m. 4/10/00

Approximate gallons of oil collected: 66,000 gallons

Extent of oil and affected sensitive areas:

    • 45 acres of marsh in Swanson Creek on Pepco property
    • Portions of 5 miles of shoreline of the Patuxent River from Gods Grace Point to Buzzard Island

Responding organizations under direction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

    • More than 100 employees of 19 federal, state and local agencies
    • More than 200 Pepco employees, contractors and not-for-profits

Precautionary advisories:

  • Boating - Patuxent River boaters are to listen to VHF-FM radio for Broadcast Notice to Mariners.
  • Fishing - Precautionary Closure: Shellfish beds from Chalk Point to Sheridan Point
  • Animal Rescue - Residents should not try to handle oiled wildlife. Report injured animals to 1-888-584-3110.

Wildlife Impact

Waterfowl: 35 rescued, 0 dead

Rescued - 3 mute swans, 32 mixture of domestic and wild ducksMammals: 14 dead

Dead - 12 muskrats, 2 ottersFish: 5 dead

To report oil contamination, wildlife or fish problems call 1-888-584-3110.

Point of Contact:
Nancy Moses

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