MILLSBORO – State and federal officials this morning responded to oversee and monitor cleanup of an overnight spill of about 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel at the NRG Inc. Indian River Power Plant.
As of 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, the spill was reported to be “contained on site at the facility,” Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control spokeswoman Nikki Lavoie said.
The spill occurred when a pressurized hose detached from an above-ground storage tank, Ms. Lavoie said.
DNREC’s Emergency Response Team was onsite this morning at the plant, located on Power Plant Road. The Emergency Response Team, together with the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard, are overseeing cleanup of the spill.
According to Dave Schrader, NRG’s Senior Communications East Manager, no waterways or public land have been affected by the spill.
“The spill was discovered and stopped first thing this morning,” Mr. Schrader said. “NRG has crews onsite to clean up the affected area and is prepared to work around the clock and has notified all the appropriate agencies.”
“NRG takes protection of the environment and compliance with all environmental regulations seriously,” said Mr. Schrader. “Unfortunately, NRG experienced a diesel fuel spill at its Indian River plant overnight that has been contained and was confined to NRG’s property.”
DNREC’s Emergency Response Team and Environmental Crimes Unit will continue to monitor the cleanup overnight and have contacted TriState Bird Rescue to assist with the wildlife impacts from the spill, Ms. Lavoie said.
Chris Bason, Executive Director for the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, applauded the quick response.
“The good news is that DNREC’s environmental cleanup is on the scene, and that NRG is taking this seriously, communicating well about it. And from what I understand from them is that it appears to be right now very well contained,” said Mr. Bason. “Of course, they are not going to say for certain if any of the fuel got into the waterways until they know. The Coast Guard, my understanding, is enroute up there to help check the water on that as well. So, the company and the agencies have responded really quickly to make sure that it is contained and cleaned up. That’s the good news when an accident like that happens.”
The area in which the NRG plant is located is a very environmentally sensitive area, Mr. Bason said.
“Yep, there is a power plant there, but those creeks are some of the most biologically productive and important creeks in the state. The estuaries are important not only for wildlife and fish and shellfish but also for the thousands and thousands of people that use it every day. So, a potential oil spill there is always a tremendous concern,” Mr. Bason said. “It’s great that it looks like it is being handled very well. We just have to be very diligent to see if any oil does get into the water, and if so, it can be cleaned up as much as possible.”