Potomac River oil sheen response continues

Dan Rauch, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Energy and Environment, observes an oiled duck at Constitution Gardens in Washington, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. Oiled wildlife have been recovered by Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research for rehabilitation. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Laurel Siegrist)

Dan Rauch, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Energy and Environment, observes an oiled duck at Constitution Gardens in Washington. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Laurel Siegrist)

BALTIMORE — The Unified Command continues its response to oil sheens Sunday in the Potomac River near Arlington, Virginia.

At approximately 11 a.m. investigators assessed Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary and identified an outfall actively sheening. The outfall is within the containment measures in place at Gravelly Point, restricting access to the Potomac River.

Responders are working to boom the outfall.

“With the identification of this specific outfall, one of several feeding the area, our investigators are able to further focus their efforts. As soon as we identified this as a potential source, our responders mobilized cleanup contractors to set up additional containment boom and sorbent materials around the location,” said Lt. David Ruhlig, the Unified Command operations section chief. “This allowed us to keep any further sheen from entering the Potomac from Roaches Run, and our hope is that it will help us to rule out other avenues of entry.”

“The discovery of the active sheen coming from the northern outfall shows the Unified Command’s continued efforts to the investigation and response,” said Cmdr. Michael Keane, incident commander. “We’re encouraged by the dissipation of the sheen on the Potomac River and will continue our efforts to ensure the protection of the environment.”

The Coast Guard is coordinating with the Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality and Arlington County to trace the storm drain systems as part of source investigation.

Tri-State Bird and Rescue & Research, with the help of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, continue their efforts and are working to capture 11 geese, which seem to be affected by the oily sheen. As of last night, Tri-State recovered 19 geese and one duck and took them to a facility in Delaware for cleaning and rehabilitation.

Oil recovered by Coast Guard investigators was sent to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory and is awaiting analysis.

Reports of impacted wildlife or oil should be made to the Office of Unified Communications by dialing 311.

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