Government agencies hear public concerns about NAS Oceana fuel spill

Posted at 4:59 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 23:16:54-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Naval Air Station Oceana, the Dept. of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Beach Department of Health got an earful from people looking for answers Monday night.

The public meeting at London Bridge Baptist Church came just days after 94,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled at NAS Oceana and made its way into Wolfsnare Creek.

The spill was first discovered Thursday and closed down London Bridge Road until Sunday.

Neighbors have since complained of a strong fuel smell in the area. Some say they are getting sick from it.

"Throwing up sick, straight up sick and migraine headaches," said Styron Daniels.

The Navy says as the weather warms the odor may be more noticeable as the fuel evaporates. Crews have been monitoring the air quality levels since the event and will continue to record air quality to ensure it stays within acceptable levels.

"We want to thank the public for their patience during the emergency cleanup," said Coast Guard Capt. Kevin Carroll.

Tables were set up around the school gymnasium with people from different government agencies willing to answer questions about different concerns from residents.

"The crews are all in hazmat gear right now. The air quality has been deemed safe based on the numerous air quality tests that we do about once every two hours," said Capt. Rich Meadows, Commanding Officer at NAS Oceana. "There's been no determination on how this has happened...It's my priority to get this cleaned up and we are going to get it done."

But Capt. Meadows nor anyone from the Department of Health and DEQ could give an exact timeline for when clean up might be done and the smell be gone.

"We're doing our best to provide information in an environment where even nationwide there's not a lot of information to be had," said Dr. Heidi Kulberg with the Virginia Beach Department of Health.

For residents who came out to the meeting looking for information, the lack of answers was frustrating.

"This was a waste of time to be honest with you," said Maria Dunlap, who lives near the cleanup site.

Dr. Kulberg says anyone who comes into contact with the jet fuel should wash it off immediately.