Rain hampers cleanup of NAS Oceana jet fuel spill

Members of the HEPACO Mid-Atlantic Emergency Response Division collect absorbent sweep during an environmental cleanup at Wolfsnare Creek, Virginia Beach, Virginia. HEPACO is part of Unified Command team consisting of federal, state and local partners working to clean up 94,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled Thursday, May 11 at Naval Air Station Oceana and surrounding areas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shamira Purifoy)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The continuous rain has slowed down cleanup efforts of a large jet fuel spill at Naval Air Station Oceana.

On Thursday, May 11, Navy officials said a leak spilled 94,000 gallons of jet fuel at Oceana.

On Monday, crews began excavating soil in the ditch along London Bridge Road to reduce the potential of the spill affecting wetlands. However, the weather has made it difficult for workers to remove contaminated soil from the ditch.

Despite the setbacks, crews are moving forward containing the spill and identifying and protecting sensitive environmental areas.

“Too much water creates an ineffective process for scooping the contaminated soil,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Brett Major, operations section chief for the Unified Command. “However, natural flushing as a result of rainfall helps direct any sheen or emulsified product towards containment areas where we can easily collect it.”

Crews continue cleaning up fuel spill near NAS Oceana

Soil and vegetation removed from NAS Oceana and London Bridge Road are being taken to Clearfield MMG waste management facility for treatment. Recovered liquids are taken to the U.S. Navy Craney Island facility for treatment and oil contaminated absorbent materials are being transported to Chesapeake Waste Solutions for disposal.

As of Tuesday, about 452,000 gallons of water/fuel mixture have been recovered and 613 tons of soil have been removed.

The Navy has offered residents of three neighborhoods near the spill vouchers to temporarily relocate as the cleanup continues. Officials said Tuesday that displaced residents are being offered funds for food and incidentals. The Navy is contacting each household to coordinate. The funds will be provided retroactively to the date the residents voluntarily relocated.