Source of Oily Substance in Pototmac Not Found; Birds Cleaned

Containment boom and absorbent sweeps remain in place after an oily substance was discovered in the Potomac River on Friday.

Eighteen geese at Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary were seen covered in the substance. Tri-State Bird and Rescue, with the help of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, has recovered 16 of the oiled geese, with two more being sought.

The U.S. Coast Guard went out on Saturday and said there didn’t appear to be any increase of the sheen outside the containment area. They said it is nearly dissipated, except for some sheltered areas in the water.

Samples of the substance have been sent to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory for analysis. At one point, wisps of the sheen were seen about eight miles south of Roaches Run.

On Monday, the Coast Guard plans to trace storm drain systems to determine a possible source of the substance. Dominion Virginia Power said a spill of mineral oil occurred Jan. 24 at a transformer station near Roaches Run. But Lt. David Ruhlig, of the Coast Guard, said that may be unrelated.

"We haven't linked those two together," he said. "We haven't ruled any source out at this point."

USCG said they will maintain protective measures at the sanctuary and continue to monitor the water, while also responding to any reports of oiled wildlife throughout the area.

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