Oil spill suspected in Charleston Harbor (updated x3)

Update October 26:

S.C. DHEC put out a new advisory on Sunday afternoon that expanded the area affected by the spill to include Seabrook and Edisto islands. There's no danger to drinking water, but environmental damage is spreading south. 

Update October 21, 3:05 p.m.:

The Post and Courier reports that the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is advising people to avoid ocean water from Sullivans Island from Station 12 to Station 17, Morris Island to the Folly Beach Pier and out to Fort Sumter.

Update October 21:

The Post and Courier has a brief but strong followup with some additional details about the size of the spill; read it here




First reporting:

The Coast Guard is looking into reports of an oil spill in the Charleston Harbor.

At this point it's not clear how large the spill is.

Live 5 News has some details and here are some from a Coast Guard release:

***IMPORTANT NOTE: The Coast Guard is asking the public to minimize maritime traffic in the harbor and near affected shorelines. Please do not attempt to remove or clean up any petroleum products located in or around the beach. The clean-up is being conducted by properly trained and outfitted personnel. Report any significant sightings of impacted beaches, marsh or other areas to Coast Guard Sector Charleston at (843) 740-7090.***

CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Coast Guard is investigating reports of an oil spill Tuesday in the mouth of Charleston Harbor, S.C., and surrounding beaches.

Several mariners reported an oil sheen and tar balls, emulsified petroleum products, in the mouth of Charleston Harbor, between Fort Moultrie, Morris Island and on both Sullivan's Island, S.C., and Folley Beach, S.C.

An HH-65 Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston and a small boat crew from Aids to Navigation Team Charleston immediately investigated the report, confirming tar balls and a sheen on the water.

The National Parks Service, South Carolina's Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Health and Environmental Control and local municipalities have been notified.

An environmental response company will conduct on-water and shoreline clean-up operations. The Coast Guard deployed shoreline clean-up assessment teams to assist with response.

The source of the spilled petroleum product is unknown.

We'll keep you updated.

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