About $50,000 spent to clean up Perrin River fuel spill
A recent diesel fuel spill in the Perrin River resulted in approximately $50,000 in containment and cleanup fees, state officials said Friday.
“We expect to recover these costs from the owner of the vessel,” whom Bill Hayden, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, identified as a resident of Hayes. The 100-foot boat sank and leaked an unspecified amount of diesel fuel.
“As of now, DEQ has paid all the costs for containment and cleanup,” Hayden said. No information was provided by state and local agencies about why the boat sank.
Officials were notified of a diesel fuel spill in the Perrin River on Feb. 20. The Virginia Department of Health, Division of Shellfish Sanitation, enacted an emergency shellfish closure in the Perrin River on Feb. 21, which has been extended until next Tuesday.
However, technicians were scheduled to test the Perrin River—in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—again this week to see if the emergency ban on oyster harvesting should be lifted, said Eric T. Aschenbach, shellfish growing area manager for the VDHealth/Shellfish Sanitation. Aschenbach estimated the diesel fuel sheen was seen for about three-quarters of a mile along the Perrin to its mouth.
Finfish were not covered under the emergency closure because, unlike oysters, they are more mobile and could likely move out of the diesel fuel area, Aschenbach said. Diesel is lighter than the heavy oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon a few years back, thus there was no need to clean off birds and animals here.
Tommy Leggett, a local waterman, said he didn’t know of any watermen who had been oystering in the Perrin River recently. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, does not have anyone directly involved in any related research or monitoring activity of the Perrin River, spokesman David Malmquist said.