VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — There have been reports of wildlife affected by a massive jet fuel spill at Naval Air Station Oceana, U.S. Navy officials said Friday.
Experts have been called into help. Anyone who finds wildlife that appears to have been affected by the fuel spill should not try to touch or assist the animal. Instead, residents are asked to call 757-438-3159 and wildlife experts will be dispatched to help.
Navy officials say fuel was being transferred from a pipeline into a storage tank on base Wednesday night when it overflowed and the spill occurred. However, it was not noticed until Thursday morning and they are still working to figure out which tank leaked.
Navy spokesman Tom Kreidel told WAVY.com Thursday morning approximately 94,000 gallons of JP5 jet fuel spilled at a bulk fuel farm on base, but later in the day the Navy said it is working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the City of Virginia Beach to determine the exact amount that spilled.
“The spill has been contained,” said the installation’s Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Meadows. “We’ve made very good progress in the last 24 hours with great cooperation from our federal, state and local partners.”
Overnight Thursday, crews removed almost 20,000 gallons from affected areas outside the fence line of Oceana. Cleanup efforts are expected to continue through the weekend.
The area where crews were cleaning up was across the street from a residential area. Some of the spilled fuel leaked into a waterway that trails away from the base. Crews are using vacuum trucks to remove the product from the water. Crews also placed water booms on Wolfsnare Creek Thursday, on the tributary located between Elon Drive and North Adventure Trail. Protective berms were also installed on base to contain the spilled fuel. The weather and tides have aided the cleanup efforts, officials said Friday.
Officials said there was no threat to anyone living around the base, and no evacuations were ordered. During a Thursday afternoon news conference, officials said they are conducting air monitoring. Although you may smell fuel in the area, Navy officials said Friday all readings are within acceptable levels.
Residents with any concerns can call the City of Virginia Beach’s 311 non-emergency number.
The northbound lanes of London Bridge Road are closed between International Parkway and Potters Road will stay closed through Friday afternoon. One southbound lane of London Bridge is also closed.
Newport News fire fighters tweeted Thursday that a hazardous materials team responded to Oceana to help with the spill.
The Navy says the cause of the spill is under investigation.
Stay with WAVY for updates to this developing story.
WATCH: Navy officials held a news conference Thursday afternoon to talk about the spill. WAVY App users can watch a replay at this link.