VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Navy officials said Wednesday that they have a plan to temporarily relocate residents of three neighborhoods near the fuel spill at Naval Air Station Oceana.
Last Thursday, a leak spilled 94,000 gallons of jet fuel at Oceana. Navy officials say fuel was being transferred from a pipeline into a storage tank on base when it overflowed and the spill occurred. The spill was not noticed until early Thursday morning.
Officials originally said the spill was expected to be cleaned up within 48 hours, but crews are still working to mitigate the leak. The Navy says they’re in an emergency cleanup phase now and will move to a remedial cleanup phase within the next few weeks. A contractor for the Navy is working around the clock to soak up the jet fuel from Wolfsnare Creek.
Wednesday marked six days of folks like Tim Fijak dealing with the fumes from the jet fuel leak.
“First night was intense, following morning not as intense but still relatively strong,” Fijack said.
Fijak is one of many neighbors who have told 10 On Your Side that they wake up to the odor leaking from the creek.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Navy said they will offer vouchers to some residents to temporarily relocate. Neighbors will be given a list of hotels where they can stay.
“When the flyers go out, they’ll call a number and they’ll be notified what hotel they are to go to and it’s basically they’ll go and check into that hotel,” NAS Oceana Commander Capt. Richard Meadows said.
Capt. Meadows said neighborhoods Cheltenham Square and Nottingham Estates will be eligible along with the Brookegreene Commons area.
But why six days later? Capt. Meadows told 10 On Your Side at no point did the Navy or state find air quality standards to be toxic.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Navy said air quality readings in the affected neighborhoods have been trending downward since the spill happened. The most recent readings were at zero.
However, after hearing from residents on Monday, officials decided to assist people to voluntarily leave.
“We probably — if we’re looking back — we probably wish we did it a few days ago,” Capt. Meadows said. “There were no definite health threats to anyone there, or an evacuation would have been ordered.”
Stay with WAVY.com for the latest updates on this developing story.