Bomms were deployed to slow the spread of waste oil into Steamboat Creek on the Elizabeth River. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Cleanup of Oil Spill Continues off Elizabeth River

A huge operation is underway in Norfolk to stop the damage from an oil spill in Steamboat Creek. The U.S. Coast Guard, several Virginia state agencies, and the city of Norfolk are working to clean up the oil and assess the damage.

Discovered last Tuesday afternoon, the spill reportedly came from a “waste oil tank overflow incident” on shore. About 300 feet of shoreline was impacted, but the Coast Guard still don’t know just how much oil was discharged into the water. The agency says the source of the overflow has been secured, and the people responsible are “fully cooperating and participating in all response efforts.”

Coast Guard Sector Virginia, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and City of Norfolk Fire-Rescue teams are working with other agencies to get the spill under control.

Oil spill response teams deployed one mile of boom and have collected at least 200 gallons of waste oil mixed with water. They’ve cleaned up 185 bags of oiled debris, and of those, 130 bags were collected in the first 24 hours since they responded to the spill.

“Our focus is the unity of effort amongst our partner agencies in this ongoing clean up,” says Lt. Savannah Kuntz, the Coast Guard Federal On Scene Coordinator Representative. “Our goal is to minimize impacts to environmentally sensitive areas and species present, and we are so thankful to have state and local partners that are pivotal in our efforts.”

As of the holiday weekend, the cleanup efforts were still ongoing.

-Meg Walburn Viviano