OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Crews on the Delmarva Peninsula have cleaned up 65 tons of sand and oil following an oil spill off the Delaware coast first discovered last week.
The U.S. Coast Guard said earlier this week oil patties first washed up on Broadkill Beach in Delaware last Monday. By Sunday, crews had cleaned up 55 tons, enough to fill four construction dumpsters. That number jumped to 65 tons on Wednesday.
Officials from Maryland, Delaware and the federal government are taking part in a joint cleanup effort. Tarballs and oil have been found as far north as Bowers Beach, Delaware, and as far south as Ocean City, Maryland.
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On Wednesday, the Coast Guard urged beachgoers to stay out of the water and away from the wrack line as tarballs ranging in size from coins to pancakes continue to wash up onshore.
Cleanup efforts may be suspended later this week as the remnants of Hurricane Zeta move across the mid-Atlantic, the agency said.
While the cause of the spill has not been identified, officials do not believe there is an ongoing spill. The Coast Guard has sent samples of the oil to a lab to try to determine where it may have come from.
The beach in Ocean City remains open, though a number of Delaware beaches, including Lewes and Dewey Beach, are closed until further notice.
On Tuesday, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan told WJZ officials in the town are closely monitoring the situation, but so far the oil is not as widespread as in other communities further north.”
“Over the course of the next four or five days, we’re going to have some issues,” Meehan said. “The good news is it affects less than 1% of the actual beach area.”