forecast weather station wind gauge
Diesel Spill Blows into Oriental's Harbor
Quick response, quick clean up
December 18, 2017

riday afternoon, a diesel spill blew into Oriental Harbor from the Neuse River.

Harbor Water/Fronts Committee vice-chair Lisa Thompson and Town Hall Manager Diane Miller were called in to assess and deal with the situation. Miller said she arrived and found the slick near the jetty, stretching into the harbor past the first trawler, an indication that the diesel had blown in from the river.

December Harbor Spill 2017
Oil on the water (file photo)

TownDock.net’s Oriental weather station shows winds were blowing from the East and Southeast around midday on Friday.

The harbor held two trawlers, one cruiser at the town dock, and one at the Oriental Marina. Thompson and Chris Fulcher, owner of Fulcher’s Point Pride Seafood, both began deploying absorbent pads on the spill. Fulcher had his employees tend to the cleanup as he checked his boats for leaks. None were found.

Miller called County Emergency Manager Chris Murray who called the Coast Guard. A Coast Guard Assessment team was working in Broad Creek that day and made their way to the harbor.

Upon arrival, they assessed the situation and determined the spill had not originated from boats in the harbor. Tom McIlhenney of the Oriental Marina said he had not pumped any diesel fuel that day. The Coast Guard Assessment Team called in a Response Team from Atlantic Beach. They drove in.

Thanks to the efforts of Fulcher’s employees and Lisa Thompson, the spill had been cleaned up by the time they arrived. The smell of diesel was gone. Town Manager Miller spoke with the Response Team to determine what the Town could do in the future when smaller spills like this one occurred.

Miller said if they had waited until the Response Team arrived, the winds would have shifted or the diesel would have sunk to the bottom. She invited them to the January 28th Town Hall Workshop Meeting to discuss the options for a working cleanup plan in the event of another small spill.

The Response Team said they will check to see if they can attend or send a representative to the meeting.

The origin of the spill could not be determined.

Posted Monday December 18, 2017 by Allison DeWeese

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