Coast Guard completes oil spill clean-up in Charleston area

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Coast Guard and partner agency personnel completed oil spill clean-up and assessments on Charleston area beaches Friday.

The clean-up started after the Coast Guard received several reports of oil and tar balls in the water and on local beaches Oct. 20. Tar balls impacted Sullivan’s Island, Fort Sumter, Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island and Edisto Island.

More than 50 people from Coast Guard Sector Charleston, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and contractors from Moran Environmental Services participated in the 10 day clean-up and assessment of approximately 60 miles of shoreline.

Crewmembers removed more than 2,600 bags filled with oily debris and sand for a total effort of more than 550 man-hours at a cost of approximately $330,000. The cost is paid by the Coast Guard National Polltion Funds Center’s oil spill liability trust fund.

An HH-65 Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston conducted a total of eight over-flights to monitor progress and to search for additional oil in the water.

“We had great cooperation from our state and local agency partners, and from the public as we quickly responded to reports of pollution,” said Capt. Michael McAllister, commander, Coast Guard Sector Charleston. “We showed how working together to protect our environmentally sensitive shorelines minimized the impact of this spill.”

There has been no evidence of direct impact to wildlife or fisheries.

The source of the spilled oil petroleum product remains under investigation. The Coast Guard will provide an update on the investigation when a responsible party is identified. The responsible party may be responsible for the costs of the clean-up, plus additional civil penalties or fines.

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