Category Archives: Spills

Spills Affecting Water in Virginia – Cumulative List of Incidents Starting February 2014; Latest: January 15, 2018, Train Derailment in Giles County Spilling Only a Few Gallons of Soybean Oil

In this post, the Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts brief accounts and links to news articles about spills affecting surface water or groundwater in Virginia.  Items are listed from most recent (at top) to oldest (at bottom).  All hyperlinks to news accounts were functional at the time posted  here, but there is no guarantee that the links still work whenever you’re reading this.

This list of incidents dates back to March 2015.  The number of incidents/situations listed as of February 23, 2017, is 41.

Frequently used abbreviations:
DEQ = Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

January 15, 2018, in Giles County – Spill of a few gallons of soybean oil following derailment of four train cars near Eggleston in Giles County.  Source: Giles County train derailment: Four cars involved, small amount of soybean oil spilled, spokeswoman says, Roanoke Times, 1/15/18.

January 12, 2018, in Campbell County – Spill of heating oil into a pond from a residential tank south of Lynchburg in Campbell County.  Crews respond to oil spill in Campbell County pond, WDBJ TV-Roanoke, 1/12/18.

November 30, 2017, in City of Virginia Beach – Spill from a broken pipe of an estimatd 60,000 gallons of sewage into the harbor at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach.  Little Creek is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.  Source: 60,000 gallons of sewage spill at Little Creek base, Navy says, Virginian-Pilot, 11/30/17.

November 30, 2017, in City of Virginia Beach – Spill from a broken pipe of an estimated 60,000 gallons of sewage into the harbor at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-fort Story in Virginia Beach.  Little Creek is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.  Source: 60,000 gallons of sewage spill at Little Creek base, Navy says, Virginian-Pilot, 11/30/17.

November 18, 2017, in Wise County – Spill of an estimated 400 tons of coal into Pigeon Creek (a Powell River/Clinch River/Tennessee River tributary), following a derailment of 38 Norfolk Southern rail cars.  As of 4:15 p.m. on November 20, Norfolk-Southern stated that four cars had been removed from the stream and six cars removed from the stream bank; that the company was working with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on the incident; that absorbent booms, silt-fencing, and hay bales had been installed around the spilled coal; and that the company planned to use excavators and vacuum trucks to remove the spilled coal from the stream and streambank.  Sources: Norfolk Southern continues to clean up derailment scene, Bristol Herald Courier, 11/21/17.  38 Norfolk Southern Railroad cars derailed in Wise County, Bristol Herald Courier, 11/20/17.  Coal train derailment cleanup continues, Coalfield Progress, 11/20/17.  Coal spill cleanup underway, WCYB TV-Bristol, 11/20/17.

October 30, 2017, in Dinwiddie County – Spill of about 4000 gallons of a plasticizer chemical following a tractor-trailer overturning on U.S. Route 460 in Dinwiddie County.  Some of the material spread to drainage ditches lining the highway.  As of October 30, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was investigating the incident.  Source:  Tractor-trailer spill closes 460 West in Dinwiddie, Petersburg Progress-Index, 10/30/17.

October 2017/October 18, 2016, in City of Covington – CSX locomotive derailment resulting in spill of about 1700 gallons of diesel fuel into the Jackson River (about 425 gallons were recovered).  In October 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and CSX reached a proposed consent agreement including a $2125 fine and a requirement of monthly monitoring until no evidence of the fuel remains in the river.  Regulators cite CSX for fuel spill from train derailment in Covington, Roanoke Times, 11/1/17.

September 2017 in City of Alexandria – Spill of over 5000 gallons of gasoline after a pump failure at a Liberty gas station on King Street in Alexandria.  As of mid-October 2017, 400 gallons of the gasoline had been recovered; it was believed that none of the spills gasoline had reached surface waters, and the concern at the time was that the gasoline would contaminate nearby apartment buildings.  Source: Cleanup of Alexandria gasoline spill may take years, WRC TV-Washington, 10/17/17 (2 min./50 sec. video).

September 2017 in Roanoke County – Proposed consent agreement on September 12, 2017, between the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Nichols Transport, Inc., regarding a June 2014 tanker-truck spill of about 4500 gallons formaldehyde (to be used in embalming fluid) on Jae Valley Road near Windy Gap in Roanoke County.  The spill required some home and business evacuations and is identified as having contaminated one residential well, according to the proposed consent order (available online as a PDF at  The proposed order will undergo a public-comment period from 9/18/17 to 10/17/17.  DEQ current consent orders (those undergoing public comment periods) are available online at Trucking company agrees to cleanup plan for formaldehyde spill in Roanoke County, Roanoke Times, 9/19/17.

August 2017 in City of Roanoke – $19,425 fine announced for Conny Oil Inc., part of a July 12, 2017, consent agreement between the company and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), for an underground leak gasoline leak (which reached the storm sewer system and caused home evacuations) discovered on October 8, 2017, at the Grandin Road BP in the City of Roanoke.  Sources:  Fuel company cited for October gas leak in southwest Roanoke, Roanoke Times, 8/7/17; Virginia DEQ, “Public Notices,” online at

July 29, 2017, in Botetourt County – Spill of about 165 gallons of Termix 5301—a type of surfactant added to herbicides and other pesticides before application, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)—into a tributary of Tinker Creek, in the Roanoke River watershed, on the Crop Production Services facility at Cloverdale in Botetourt County (just north of the Roanoke County line and the City of Roanoke), affecting approximately 8 miles Tinker Creek and resulting in a fish kill estimated at over 40,000, according to the DEQ.  The DEQ’s July 31 news release asserted the following about long-term impacts: “Where the material was present in the water, the stream exhibited a cloudy appearance and moderate to heavy white foam.  DEQ checked the stream at more than a dozen locations, from near the mouth at the Roanoke River, to above the confluence with the impacted tributary at Route 11 in Cloverdale.  At almost all locations, the appearance of the stream had returned to normal for this time of year.  Once the material is diluted and flushed downstream, no long-term impacts to the stream are anticipated.  It ultimately may take several years to return to normal, but the stream will recover and aquatic life will repopulate the affected areas.”  DEQ spokesperson Bill Hayden was quoted on August 2, 2017, by The Roanoke Times as saying that the fish kill “may be one of the biggest…in Virginia history,” and that recovery of the stream’s bottom dwelling aquatic organisms could take years.  A recreation advisory on Tinker Creek was lifted on August 11.  On October 4, 2017, the DEQ issued a notice of violation to Crop Production Services.  On January 30, 2018, the DEQ published an update on the spill, stating (in part) the following:  “All on-site removal actions have been completed, including the removal of contaminated soils impacted by the release. The on-site stormwater ditch and stormwater pond have been relined and returned to service.  DEQ issued a Notice of Violation on October 4, 2017, for an unpermitted discharge of pollutants to surface water.  DEQ is resolving the alleged violation through its enforcement procedures and in coordination with partner agencies.  Future monitoring plans are being developed.  DEQ is coordinating with US Fish and Wildlife Service on monitoring plans to track the stream’s long term recovery.”  Sources: Tinker Creek fish kill, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality update, 1/30/18DEQ issues violation notice to company after Tinker Creek chemical spill, WSLS TV-Roanoke, 10/17/17; State issues violation notice in Tinker Creek chemical spill and fish kill, Roanoke Times, 10/16/17.  DEQ sends notice of violation over Tinker Creek chemical spill, WDBJ TV-Roanoke, 10/10/17.  Chemical spill in Tinker Creek revealed a gap in regulation, Roanoke Times, 8/17/17.  Tinker Creek recreation advisory lifted nearly 2 weeks after chemical spill, Roanoke Times, 8/11/17.  DEQ: Tinker Creek safe to swim in, no herbicide detected in recent tests, WSET Lynchburg, 8/11/17.  Update on status of Tinker Creek, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 8/4/17.  Fish kill extended 8 miles downstream of Cloverdale chemical spill, state says, Roanoke Times, 8/4/17.  Deputies say vandals may have caused Tinker Creek chemical spill, WSLS TV-Roanoke, 8/2/17.  Recovery on Tinker Creek could take years after chemical spill caused massive fish kill, Roanoke Times, 8/2/17.  Tinker Creek fish kill: questions and answers, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 7/31/17. Chemical spill on Tinker Creek caused by puncture to storage tank, DEQ officials say, Roanoke Times, 7/31/17.  Crews continue assessing damage from chemical spill into Tinker Creek, WSLS TV-Roanoke, 7/31/17.  Officials say police are investigating Tinker Creek chemical spill as a crime, WXFR TV-Roanoke, 7/31/17.  Sudsy water, fish kills in Tinker Creek after confirmed chemical spill, WSLS TV-Roanoke, 7/31/17.  Herbicide spill in Tinker Creek stretches 8 to 10 miles, public still warned to stay out of creek, Roanoke Times, 7/30/17.  Chemical spill impact on well water and enviornment, WDBJ TV-Roanoke, 7/30/17.
Here is the text of an August 4, 2017, news release from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on the Tinker Creek spill:
“RICHMOND, VA. — The Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality have updated the information available on the status of Tinker Creek in Botetourt County following a fish kill on July 29.
— The agencies are continuing their recommendation that people stay away from Tinker Creek, from just west of Route 11/Lee Highway, across from Southern States Cooperative in Cloverdale, downstream to the mouth of Tinker Creek at the Roanoke River.
— Water test results have been analyzed and show a very low amount of the chemical Termix 5301 in the creek. This amount of the chemical is not considered harmful.
— Additional water samples will be collected Monday, August 7, and results are expected later in the week. A decision will be made then as to whether the advisory on Tinker Creek should remain.
— DEQ has completed its count of fish that died as a result of the spill. The total is 40,198, which includes sunfish, rock bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, darters, multiple species of minnow, margined madtoms, bullhead catfish and suckers. Though there have been a few larger fish kills in Virginia, this is considered a significant incident.
— The company responsible for the spill, Crop Production Services, has continued to cooperate fully with DEQ and has taken numerous actions to address the fish kill.”

June 2017 in Franklin County –  Announcement of a $4550 fine by the Virginia DEQ on Burnt Chimney Dairy LLC for a March 2016 spill of 13,500 gallons of manure onto the ground in Franklin County, some of which reached an unnamed tributary to Gills Creek, which in turn is a Roanoke River tributary.  Source:  Franklin County dairy farm cited for manure spill, Roanoke Times, 6/29/17.

May 10-11, 2017, in Virginia Beach – Spill of 94,000 gallons of jet fuel at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.  For more on this incident, please see this Water Central News Grouper post of May 17, 2017.

May 8, 2017, in Harrisonburg – Derailment of five rail cars carrying corn, some of which reached Blacks Run, in the Shenandoah River watershed.  Source:  Long cleanup ahead after train derails in downtown Harrisonburg, WHSV TV-Harrisonburg, Va., 5/8/17.

Late April 2017 in Weber City (Scott County) – Sewage spill from a pipe damaged by a collapsed crane at a bridge-construction site.  Source: UPDATE: No contact advisory on Holston River lifted following sewage spill, WCYB TV-Bristol, 5/15/17.

April 11, 2017, in Roanoke County – Spill of about 400 gallons of asphalt from a tanker truck on North Barrens Road in Roanoke County.  Source: No environmental damage from asphalt spill in Roanoke County, DEQ says, Roanoke Times, 4/12/17.

March 2017/September 2015 in Franklin County – March 2017 announcement of a consent order and $3250 fine by the Department of Environmental Quality for a September 2015 manure spill into Maggodee Creek (Roanoke River basin) in Franklin County.  Source: Franklin County dairy farm cited for manure spill, Roanoke Times, 3/30/17.

February 20, 2017, in Gloucester County – Diesel fuel spill from a sunken boat into the Perrin River (a Chesapeake Bay tributary in Gloucester County).  Source: About $50,000 spent to clean up Perrin River fuel spill, Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal, 3/15/17.

January 2017 in City of Fredericksburg – January 2017 consent agreement regarding October 2015, December 2015, and February 2016 wastewater spills by City of Fredericksburg.  Source: City to Pay State Fine for Sewage Spills, Fredericksburg Today, 1/25/17.

November 2016 in Washington, D.C., metropolitan area – Appearance of oily sheen on Potomac River in D.C. metropolitan region.  Sources: D.C. area water utilities keep an eye on oily sheen on Potomac River, Washington Post, 11/30/16; EPA says oil plume on Potomac River came from power plant in Maryland, Washington Post, 12/6/16.

October 24, 2016, in Fluvanna County – Discovery by Rivanna Conservation Alliance volunteer monitors of sewage-pipe leak into Lake Monticello in Fluvanna County.  Aqua Virginia, a private company providing water and sewer service to the area, fixed the leak the same day.  Sources: Sewage pipe could have been leaking into Lake Monticello for months, group says, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/27/16.  Questions remain on full impact of Lake Monticello sewage spill, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 10/28/16.  Water officials seek more info on Lake Monticello sewer leak, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 10/31/16.  Lake water ‘safe’ after sewage leak, Fluvanna Review, 10/31/16.

October 3, 2016, in Stafford County – Discovery of a sewage-line break that was causing a spill of wastewater into Claiborne Run, a Rappahannock River tributary near the historic Port of Falmouth Park in Stafford County.  Source: Another sewage spill closes Historic Port of Falmouth in Stafford, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 10/5/16.

August 23, 2016, in City of Richmond – Spill of about 7000 gallons of fuel oil and gasoline from a tanker truck that overturned on I-95 near the James River at Richmond; about 4000 gallons apparently reached the James via stormwater drains.  Sources: Fuel spill affects James River at Richmond Deep Water Terminal, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 8/24/16; DEQ working to clean 4,000 gallons of fuel spilled in James River in truck crash, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/24/16.

July 18-24, 2016, in Russell County
– Two petroleum spills in Russell County during the week of July 18-24, 2016; one of about 50 gallons of diesel fuel; the other of hydraulic oil, greater than 25 gallons but amount not identified in story.  Source: Everyday oil spills dangerous without quick intervention, WCYB-TV Bristol, Va., 7/25/16.

July 6, 2016, in Goochland County – Petroleum-pipeline leak near Tuckahoe Creek.  Sources: Henrico leaders carefully monitoring Goochland petroleum spill, RVANews, 7/8/16.  Petroleum leak reported along Goochland-Henrico line, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/7/16.

June 2016/April 2015 in Alleghany County – Consent agreement regarding an April 2015 sewer overflow of between 46,000 and 93,000 gallons per day over four days at the Alleghany County wastewater treatment plant (which discharges into Potts Creek, a Jackson River tributary).  Source: Alleghany County cited for wastewater overflows into creek, Roanoke Times, 6/2/16.

April 2016 in Fairfax County – Update on work to remediate MTBE from early 2000s leak at a service station in Great Falls (clean-up underway since 2014).  Sources: Great Falls: Eyesore Improves, Bank Coming, Great Falls Connection, 4/18/16; and Groundwater Cleanup Continues, Fairfax Connection, 8/25/15.

April 13, 2016, in Stafford County – Wastewater spill from an overturned tractor-trailer.  Source: Stafford road reopens after tractor-trailer overturned, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 4/13/16.

Jan. 22, 2016, in the City of Chesapeake – Spill of an estimated 75,000 gallons of jet fuel from the Kinder Morgan facility.  Sources: 60 ducks and geese covered in jet fuel from Chesapeake tank spill, Virginian-Pilot, 1/25/16; About 75,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked in Chesapeake tank spill, Virginian-Pilot, 1/26/15.

November 2015 in City of Roanoke – Consent agreement, including a $71,450 fine, for a February 15, 2014, spill by Steel Dynamics of about 10,000 gallons of fuel oil into Peters Creek (in the Roanoke River basin).  Source: Roanoke steel manufacturer agrees to pay fine for fuel oil spill, Roanoke Times, 11/30/15.

October 29, 2015, in Arlington County – Aviation-fuel spill at Reagan National Airport.  Source: Fuel spills into Potomac River at area south of Reagan National Airport, Washington Post, 10/30/15.

October 2015 leak in the City of Harrisonburg – Leak of about 7000 gallons of gasoline (first detected in October 2015) from an underground storage tank at a service station on Port Republic Road near Insterstate 81 in Harrisonburg.  Sources:  Harrisonburg Gas Station Leaks 7,000 Gallons of Fuel Into Ground, WHSV Harrisonburg, 11/13/15; Gas station owner fights accusation gas leak handled negligently, WHSV Harrisonburg, 1/29/16.

Sept. 28, 2015, in Goochland County – Spill of human waste from dump truck onto a road.  Source: Neighbors not happy after human waste spills out of dump truck in Goochland, WVTR TV-Richmond, 9/28/15.

September 21, 2015, in the City of Danville – Spill of motor oil at a car dealership.  Sources:  400 gallons of motor oil spilled; some got into the Dan River, Danville Register & Bee, 9/21/15; Oil spill to have ‘minimal impact’ on the Dan River, Danville Register & Bee, 9/23/15.

August 2015 in Fairfax County – Fine and correction plan for six sewage spills (over 600,000 gallons total) in 2013 and 2014 into Holmes Run, Lake Barcroft, and an unnamed tributary to Hunting Creek (all in the Potomac River basin), near Bailey’s Crossroads.  Source: After Massive Lake Barcroft Sewage Spill, Fairfax County Fails To Warn Residents, WAMU FM-Washington, 9/11/15.

August 2015 in Chesterfield County – Case of cleaning company disposing of cleaning chemicals improperly by pouring them onto the ground near schools.  Source: Potentially harmful chemicals dumped outside dozens of Chesterfield County schools, WRIC TV-Richmond, 9/4/15.

August 21, 2015, in Stafford County – Leak of 24,000 gallons of sewage into Falls Run, a Rappahannock River tributary.  The incident was one of nine between August 2014 and August 2015, resulting in spills of about 1.5 million gallons total in the Rappahannock and Potomac River watersheds from the county’s Aquia and Little Falls Run wastewater treatment plants.  Sources: Rappahannock River deemed safe two days after sewage spills into tributary, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/27/15.  Stafford wastewater system has leaked 1.5 million gallons of sewage in past year, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 9/3/15.

July-August 2015 in Dinwiddie County – Contamination of Stony Creek, in the Nottoway River/Chowan River watershed, by animal waste from a hog farm in Dinwiddie County; at least some of the pollutant was believed to be slurry material from a (now-closed) ethanol plant in the City of Hopewell.  Sources: The State of Stony Creek: Virginia Departments Continue Investigation into Waterway, Dinwiddie Monitor, 9/15/17.  Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors updates Stony Creek contamination, WTVR TV-Richmond, 9/1/15.  Officials find second site in Dinwiddie that is polluting waters, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/7/15.  Stony Creek pollution under investigation, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/31/15.

July 27, 2015, in Rockbridge County – Spill of about 5000 gallons of asphalt from a tanker truck into a tributary of Fords Run, in the Maury River/James River watershed.  Source: Cleanup of Rockbridge County asphalt spill likely to take weeks, Roanoke Times, 7/28/15.

March 2015 in the City of Hopewell – Spill into the Appomattox River (in the James River watershed) of about 600 gallons of diesel fuel by the Virginia American Water Company at its drinking water plant.  In August 2015, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced a draft consent decree that included a fine of about $23,000.  Sources: Company to pay $23,000 after diesel fuel spill in Appomattox River, WTVR Richmond, 9/14/15; Water company fined for oil spill, Hopewell News, 9/18/15.

April 30, 2014, in City of Lynchburg
– CSX oil-transport train derailment along the James River, resulting in three tanker cars falling partially into the river, explosions followed by fire along the tracks and on the river, evacuations of about six blocks of Lynchburg’s downtown that afternoon, and an estimated 30,000 gallons of oil from one breached tanker car reaching the river (some of that oil caught fire).  For more on this incident, please see this Water Central News Grouper post.

February 2, 2014, along the Dan River in North Carolina – Stormwater pipe collapse under a coal-ash storage basin at the Duke Energy’s Dan River Station in Eden, North Carolina, upstream of the Virginia Dan River section.  The Eden station was a coal-fired power plant that operated between 1949 and 2012.  The break spilled an estimated 39,000 tons of coal ash from the ash-storage basin into the Dan River.  For more on this incident, please see this Water Central News Grouper post.

Jet Fuel Spill on May 10-11, 2017, at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach

On May 10-11, 2017, an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled from a leaking fuel line at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.  The Navy discovered the leak on May 11 and contained the spill to the base that day, but by then the spill had spread to Wolfsnare Creek (a tributary of Lynnhaven Bay/Lynnhaven River/Chesapeake Bay).  By May 11, the Coast Guard announced that it had contained the spill at that waterway.  As of May 16, recovery of the spilled fuel from that creek was still taking place, the Virginia Department of Health was asking people to avoid any recreational activities in the creek south of Virginia Beach Boulevard, and some residents were reporting smelling fuel fumes in their homes.  On May 17, the Navy announced that it was temporarily re-locating residents of three neighborhoods affected by the fumes from the spill. On May 19, the Navy reported that the spill had been caused by a switch being in an incorrect position during a refueling operation, leading to fuel flowing into and out of a 2000-gallon container, rather than into the three intended 880,000-gallon tanks.  Reports on May 19 indicated that about 180 homes in the city had been affected by the spill.  By May 26, the Navy had declared that emergency operations were over and tasks would now turn to remediation of the spill’s effects.  On June 23, the Navy announced that it would be discipling nine sailors for failing to perform duties that led to the jet fuel spill, and one civilian may also face disciplinary action.

Following are some news media accounts of the spill and its aftermath, listed from most recent to oldest:
Navy is disciplining nine sailors for 94,000-gallon jet fuel spill in Virginia Beach, Associated Press, as published by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/25/17.
Residents return to their homes in Virginia Beach after Oceana jet fuel spill. But questions linger, Virginian-Pilot, 6/2/17.
Emergency over, Navy shifts to remediation following Oceana jet fuel spill, Virginian-Pilot, 5/26/17.
A switch in the wrong position caused Oceana’s largest ever jet-fuel spill, Navy says, Virginian-Pilot, 5/19/17.
Navy officials reveal what caused NAS Oceana jet fuel spill last week, Southside Daily, 5/19/17.
Navy providing investigation update into jet fuel spill, WAVY TV-Hampton Roads, 5/19/17.
How has the NAS Oceana jet fuel spill affected watermen?, WAVY TV-Hampton Roads, 5/18/17.
Navy offers temporary relocation to some residents near Oceana fuel spill, WAVY TV-Norfolk, 5/17/17.
Navy offers relocation assistance for neighbors impacted by jet fuel leak, WTKR TV-Norfolk, 5/17/17.
Navy starts voluntary relocation for residents affected by Oceana jet fuel spill, Virginian-Pilot, 5/17/17.
Navy relocating residents affected by jet fuel spill, WVEC TV-Norfolk, 5/17/17.
6 days after fuel spill, Virginia Beach is still in recovery “emergency phase”, Southside Daily, 5/16/17.
“My whole house reeks”: Jet fuel vapors invade Virginia Beach neighborhoods, Virginian-Pilot, 5/15/17.
Navy continues cleanup of jet fuel spill at Oceana; London Bridge Road reopened, Virginian-Pilot, 5/15/17.
Wildlife rehab specialist called in after 5 birds found dead following Oceana jet fuel spill, Virginian-Pilot, 5/12/17.
Government agencies hear public concerns about NAS Oceana fuel spill, WTKR TV-Norfolk, 5/15/17.
Navy to hold public information session Monday to discuss fuel spill in Virginia Beach, Virginian-Pilot, 5/14/17.
Watch: Crews working to clean up jet fuel spill at NAS Oceana, WTKR TV-Norfolk, 5/11/17.
Thousands of gallons of Navy jet fuel spilled at Oceana, traffic diverted near base, Virginian-Pilot, 5/11/17.

2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill Ecological Damages Valued at $17.2 Billion, According to Research Published on April 20, 2017

In the April 20, 2017, issue of Science, a team of researchers (including Kevin Boyle of Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics) estimated that the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began April 20, 2010, resulted in the equivalent of $17.2 billion of damage to natural resources.

The estimate was based on a household survey asking what people would be willing to pay to prevent or reduce a future recurrence of the kinds of damages (to organisms and habitats) seen from the 2010 incident.

The article is “Putting a value on injuries to natural assets: The BP oil spill,” in the April 20, 2017, issue of Science (Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pages 253-254), available online at  (The direct link to article is, but a subscription is required for access.)  A summary of the research is available in BP oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to natural resources, scientists find in first-ever financial evaluation of spill’s impact, Virginia Tech News, 4/20/17.

Virginia Environmental Endowment Marked 40th Anniversary on February 1, 2017; Founding Originated from Kepone Contamination of James River

On February 1, 2017, the Virginia Environmental Endowment observed its 40th anniversary, and the event was recognized in a proclamation from Gov. Terry McAuliffe.  Following is some key information about the VEE, excerpted from the governor’s proclamation; the full proclamation is available online at
“[The Virginia Environmental Endowment was created on February 1, 1977, as a nonprofit grant-making organization for the purpose of improving the quality of Virginia’s environment.

“[The] initial funding for the Endowment arose out of an environmental enforcement action surrounding the polluting of the James River with the pesticide Kepone, and additional funds from other environmental settlements expanded the Endowment’s grant-making capacity to include the Kanawha and Ohio River Valleys of Kentucky and West Virginia.

“[The] mission of the Endowment is to improve the quality of the environment by using its capital, expertise, and resources to prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, and promote environmental literacy.

“[The] Endowment has awarded over 1,200 grants to nearly 500 partner organizations totaling over $27 million since 1977 [and…] the Endowment leveraged its funding to achieve over $70 million in environmental improvement.”

In October 2017, VEE recognized 22 Partners in Excellence from the groups with which the Endowment has worked.

Several 40th Anniversary documents, including a video and special annual report, along with more about the VEE are available online at; or contact the organization at P.O. Box 790, Richmond, VA 23218-0790; (804) 644-5000; e-mail:

Mineral Oil Discharges from Virginia Electric and Power Company in January 2016 – Consent Order Proposed by Va. DEQ on 10/31/16

On October 31, 2016, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced a proposed consent order with Virginia Electric and Power Company (a subsidiary of Dominion) for two January 2016 incidents where mineral oil from electrical transformers in waterways: approximately 9,000 gallons of oil from a transformer at the West Staunton substation into an unnamed tributary of Bell Creek and subsequently a farm pond Augusta County; and approximately 13,500 gallons into Roaches Run and subsequently the Potomac River at the Crystal City substation in Arlington County.

The proposed consent order’s enforcement actions includes a civil charge of $259,535 and requires completion of a corrective action plan for restoration and monitoring of any long-term impacts.

The proposed order will undergo a public-comment period from October 31, 2016, through November 30, 2016 and then be considered by the State Water Control Board.  The proposed order is available online at  The DEQ will accept comments by e-mail to, or by postal mail to P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23219.

Source: Virginia proposes enforcement action over mineral oil spills by Dominion in 2016, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 10/31/16.

For a previous Water Central News Grouper post on the Arlington incident, please see Oil Sheen on Potomac River at Arlington County, Va., and Washington, D.C.

Oil Sheen on Potomac River at Arlington County, Va., and Washington, D.C., in February 2016; Originated with January 24, 2016, Oil Leak at Dominion Substation, According to Coast Guard on February 12; Dominion Conducting Dye Tests in June 2016 to Help Determing How Incident Occurred

On February 12, 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that the source of an oily sheen discovered on February on the Potomac River near the Roaches Run Wildlife Sanctuary in Arlington County, Va., originated in a January 24, 2016, spill of 13,500 gallons of mineral oil used to cool transformers at Dominion Virginia Power’s Crystal City substation.  Also on February 12, Dominion officials stated that they concurred with the findings and would take full responsibility for the impacts of the oil reaching the Potomac.  About eight miles of the Potomac were affected by the oil, killing 21 birds and requiring treatment for over 30 others.  On February 8, the Coast Guard, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, and the Washington, D.C., Department of Energy and the Environment had investigated the spill by means of a dye test in stormwater drains near the wildlife sanctuary.

In June 2016, Dominion conducted more dye tests in attempting to determine how the leak occurred.

Sources and other media articles about the incident:

Dominion to dye-test runoff into wildlife refuge near airport, Washington Post, 6/15/16.

Opinion: Mount Vernon Column: About the Potomac Oil Spill, Mount Vernon Connection, 2/18/16 [commentary by Virginia House of Delegates Member Paul Krizek of Alexandria].

13,500 Gallons of Mineral Oil Flow into Potomac, Virginia Connection Newspapers, 2/17/16.

Potomac oil spill came from Dominion, utility admits, Washington Post, 2/12/16.

Coast Guard links Potomac sheen to Dominion oil spill, Bay Journal, 2/12/16.

Dominion spill to blame for oily sheen, wildlife deaths on Potomac, Inside NoVa, 2/12/16.

Dominion Power accepts responsibility for Potomac River oil sheen, WTOP Radio-Washington, 2/12/16.

Unified Command Still Investigating Potomac River Oil Sheen,, 2/11/16.

Local Agencies Investigate Oil Sheen on Potomac River, Alexandria Times, 2/11/16.

First Oil Sample Results in from Gravelly Point Spill: U.S. Coast Guard, Arlington Patch, 2/8/16.

Coast Guard identifies oil in refuge and river as fuel oil; source still unknown, Washington Post, 2/8/16.

Coast Guard: Fuel oil in Potomac evaporating on its own, WTOP Radio-Washington, 2/8/16.

Delaware’s Tri-State Bird Rescue decontaminates geese after Potomac oil spill, WDEL Radio-Wilmington, Del., 2/8/16.

Some birds lost feathers; oil clean-up continues on the Potomac, WUSA TV-Washington, 2/8/16.

Coast Guard to dye storm water system in search of oil spill source, Washington Post, 2/8/16.

Dye Test Planned on Potomac River Oil Sheen,, 2/8/16.

Oil sheen on Potomac near DC under investigation, Bay Journal, 2/5/16; updated 2/7/16.

Source of Potomac oil spill still a mystery as sheen begins to dissipate, Washington Post, 2/6/16.

Oil sheen found in the Potomac River appears to have dissipated, Washington Post, 2/5/16.

|Oily Substance Coats Bird Sanctuary, 8 Miles of Potomac River, NBC4 TV Washington, 2/5/16.

Coast Guard, Partner Agencies Respond To Potomac River Sheen; Treat Affected Waterfowl,, 2/7/16.

Mysterious oily sheen on Potomac River in Arlington impacting birds, fish, Inside NoVa, 2/5/16.

Official: Oil sheen on Potomac River has decreased dramatically, WTOP-Radio Washington, 2/5/16.

At least 23 birds, other wildlife treated after exposure to Potomac River oil slick, WJLA Washington

‘Petroleum-Based Substance’ Found in Potomac River, Old Town Alexandria Patch, 2/5/16.

Coast Guard working to clean oil sheen from Potomac River, WTOP Washington, 2/5/16.

Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Restoration Projects Database and Map

As of October 2015, over five years had passed since the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion, fire, and sinking that led to a three-month release of millions of barrels of oil that contaminated some 1000 miles of coastlines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.  Billions of dollars have been committed to current and future efforts to try to restore the Gulf Coast areas and organisms that were affected by the spill. The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) provides an online database and map of Gulf restoration projects related to the 2010 spill. The map and database are available online at; an overview of Gulf recovery processes and funding sources is available at For more information, contact ELI at 1730 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 939-3800; or