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Case: Chalk Point, MD

Date of incident: April 7, 2000.

Location: Chalk Point/Swanson Creek, Maryland (near Aquasco, Maryland).


Case status: Settled, restoration nearing completion.

Overview: On April 7, 2000, a leak was detected in a 12-inch underground pipeline that supplies oil to the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) Chalk Point generating station in Aquasco, Maryland. Approximately 140,000 gallons of fuel oil spilled into Swanson Creek, a small tributary of the Patuxent River. The spilled oil was a mix of No. 6 oil, which is normally transported by the pipeline to generate electricity, and No. 2 oil, a much lighter oil being used as part of a cleaning process. On the night of April 8, severe weather conditions caused oil to breach booms that had been deployed spreading oil into the Patuxent River for approximately 17 linear miles downstream. About 40 miles of environmentally sensitive downstream creeks and shorelines were oiled as a result. The spill resulted in lost recreational use, damage to wetlands and beach shorelines, and injuries to muskrats, birds and waterfowl, fish and shellfish, diamondback terrapins, and benthic communities. The trustees have undertaken a series of restoration projects to address natural resource and lost use injuries associated with the fuel pipeline leak.

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