Unified Command to conduct dye test on Potomac River oil sheen

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 is scheduled to conduct a dye test Monday in the Potomac River and Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary near Arlington, Virginia, which may discolor portions of the river.

As part of the ongoing investigation on the source of the oil sheen in the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary and the Potomac River, the Coast Guard and Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality will coordinate with the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services to conduct a dye test in the storm water conveyance system for the Roaches Run watershed.

“The purpose of the dye test is to help identify possible source areas for the sheen observed on Roaches Run and in the Potomac River,” said Cmdr. Michael Keane, incident commander. “The dye can be seen as a bright yellow or green and is non-toxic, non-staining and water-soluble.”

“The dye testing will occur this morning,” added Keane. “The testing may result in noticeably discolored water in Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, the Roaches Run impoundment area and possibly the Potomac River.  The discolored water will naturally disperse. We want to inform people in an attempt to mitigate concern by the public, who may see the dye in the water and mistake it as something else.”

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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