THE CHESAPEAKE BAY OIL SPILL-FEBRUARY 2, 1976: A CASE HISTORY

On Febuary 2, 1976 one of the worst oil spills in recent history occurred in the lower Chesapeake Bay. About 250,000 gal of No. 6 oil were discharged into the bay after a barge sank in a storm near the mouth of the Potomac River. The oil contaminated extensive beach and marsh areas on both sides of the bay. Cleanup operations lasted almost a month and the cost approached $400,000. An estimated 167,000 gal of oil were recovered by cleanup crews. The remaining oil is believed to be widely dispersed over large areas of the bay. The heavily contaminated fringe marsh grasses were cut, leaving the root systems intact, in order to protect the fragile marsh areas. An overall assessment of the environment damages caused by the spill is almost complete. Estimates of the number of waterfowl killed range from 20,000 to 50,000 birds. Damage to shellfish and other aquatic resources is still under study. Preliminary reports indicate that damages to the environment may not be as severe as initially expected.

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 523-527

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00177086
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Pollution Abstracts
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Publication 4284
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 28 1978 12:00AM