Clean Up Continues on Cooper River

Friday, October 04, 2002
Clean up crews working on the Cooper River Oil Spill are concentrating their efforts today on the remaining heavily concentrated areas of recoverable oil between Piers Delta and Pier Papa on the Old Navy Base in Charleston. Contractors will also be replacing saturated absorbent boom with new absorbent boom to facilitate collections efforts. To date, more than 700 gallons of oil has been recovered using skimmers, absorbent pads and boom. The spill still remains a mystery but more than 100 people from 10 different federal, state and local agencies are aggressively working to clean up the oil spill. Presently, over $225,000 has been spent on the recovery effort and the ceiling for the clean up was raised from $500,000 to $750,000 today. Tri-State Environmental bird rescue representatives are also on site to assess wildlife impact. Shoreline containment and assessment teams located approximately 15 oiled pelicans yesterday around Crab Bank. Tri-State personnel are headed to Crab Bank today in an attempt to recover any of the distressed pelicans. A Coast Guard helicopter crew with Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Charleston and state DHEC personnel departed Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston about 8 a.m. today to conduct an over-flight of the Cooper River spill areas and offshore areas to determine how much oil is still on the water.Coast Guard oil spill investigators collected nine more samples Wednesday from ships and shore facilities along the Cooper River. The samples were sent to the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Laboratory in Groton, Conn. So far a total, 38, including 11 source samples, oil samples have been taken from possible sources to be compared with oil recovered from the Cooper River. The beaches are still open, but residents and visitors are encouraged to stay away from any oil deposits along the beach. The oil isn’t hazardous but if you do get it on your skin the Coast Guard and the South Carolina DHEC recommend cleaning it with a mild detergent. State shellfish ground 200 at the mouth of the Folly River remains closed. South Carolina DHEC closed the oyster bed to harvesting Wednesday. The Coast Guard has contracted with Charleston Marine Services and Moran Environmental Recovery to conduct clean-up efforts.“Our investigation into a responsible party is moving forward,” said Commander Gary Merrick, Federal On Scene Coordinator for clean up operation and the Captain of the Port for Charleston. “As we receive results from the samples we sent to the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Laboratory will begin to eliminate potential sources and move closer to identifying the probable source,” continued Merrick.
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