A significant amount of JP-5 jet fuel leaked from a tank at the Naval Air Station Oceana Bulk Fuel Farm May 10. The spill was discovered on base at 6:30 a.m. May 11.
The Unified Command team of federal, state and local partners worked through the night as the cleanup continues from Thursday’s spill of 94,000 gallons of jet fuel at Naval Air Station Oceana and the area adjacent to the spill in Virginia Beach.
The Unified Command will hold a public Information tomorrow 5-7 p.m. at London Bridge Baptist Church, 2460 Potters Road, in Virginia Beach. “We know residents have a lot of questions, and we’ll have representatives from the Navy and partner agencies to answer questions and address concerns,” Naval Air Station Oceana Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Meadows said.
Meadows said the Unified Command is also working to get the affected roadways back open before tomorrow’s commute. “We know the response efforts have been an inconvenience to motorists and we appreciate the community’s understanding and patience.”
Traffic along northbound London Bridge Road remains closed today between International Parkway and Potters Road and one lane southbound on London Bridge Road between Potters Road and Central Drive, is closed, as cleanup crews and equipment work to remove the spilled fuel from a culvert.
“The spill area continues to be contained,” Virginia Department of Environmental Quality state on scene coordinator John Settle said. “Our priority today is to continue the cleanup in the community and protect public health, safety and the wildlife in the area of the spill.”
“For everyone’s safety, we request motorists to be cautious when driving past response personnel,” Fire Capt. Jim Todd said, acting as response safety officer.
As cleanup efforts continue, the Virginia Department of Health has asked the public to avoid all recreational activities including fishing and crabbing in Wolfsnare Creek south of Virginia Beach Boulevard and East of Lynnhaven Parkway.
People should avoid coming in direct contact with the fuel and should keep their pets from entering the affected area. If direct contact is made, wash exposed skin with soapy water.
Unified response teams continue to monitor water and air quality to ensure public safety during the cleanup.
HEPACO and the Virginia Beach Fire Department are sampling air quality every two hours and the levels remain well under levels which can cause health effects. Residents may see air monitor stations deployed in the neighborhood, which are taking continuous readings.
Wildlife experts continue to survey the area to locate and assist impacted wildlife and taking precautions to keep additional animals from entering the affected area. Any affected wildlife that is found will be transported for rehabilitation. Several fish, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians been reported as casualties of the spill.
The public is reminded to not touch or assist any distressed animals. Instead, notify the Unified Command at 757-438-3159 and wildlife experts will be dispatched. “Residents trying to rescue wildlife, risk contaminating themselves, injuring the wildlife and introducing contaminants into the wastewater systems,” Navy natural resource specialist Michael Wright said.
Residents with questions or concerns about the spill can call the City of Virginia Beach’s 311 non-emergency number.
Cleanup efforts will continue until the fuel is cleaned up.
The Navy is working with U.S. Coast Guard, City of Virginia Beach, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Beach Animal Control, U.S. Navy Natural Resources, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture-APHIS-Wildlife Services, USDA, VDH, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, INC., and HEPACO.
The cause of the spill remains under investigation.