Watermen react after thousands of gallons of spilled jet fuel threaten product

Posted at 6:12 AM, May 17, 2017

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - 'It could have been a lot worse," said Chris Ludford after surveying the river where his oyster farm is.

94,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled last week at NAS Oceana and hit the waterways behind the base, flowing towards the Lynnhaven River and Inlet.

Fortunately, Ludford said, the spill was stopped before it hit the headwaters. The canal system behind the base is most effected. Areas like Wolfsnare Creek and the London Bridge Creek canal system were hit hardest and that is where the fuel sits at this point.

Though many watermen realized the spill was stopped before reaching most commercial fishing areas, some still have concerns on whether there will be a negative impact down the road.

As for right now production is normal on the Lynnhaven waterway as oyster farmers, crabbers and fishermen head out for their daily routine.

Ludford said, "the product has been contained, I think the product may cause the odor but as far as the river proper and the estuaries I think this was a huge win, a huge win. It was contained to that canal system and that area was designed to do just that."

One crab fishermen spoke to News 3 on the water and said he had seen slicks in the water but after doing some research everything shows that the fuel will not sink, but float on the surface where it can be cleaned up.

Cleanup crews from the Navy worked over the weekend to clear as much spillage from the water as possible. The Commanding Officer of NAS Oceana said they are still investigating just what happened.

As the weather warms up, the fuel will evaporate more quickly. Good news for the cleanup efforts, bad news for residents in the area who will have to deal with the smell.