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Wetzel Resident Seeks Help For Ducks Affected By Oil Spill

By Staff | Oct 26, 2017

Ducks Cutline: Pictured are just a few of the ducks that Jennifer Shuman says were affected by an Oct. 14 Jacksonburg-area oil spill. (Photo provided)

A Wetzel County resident is seeking assistance for ducks affected by an Oct. 14 oil spill.

Jennifer Shuman of Jacksonburg said approximately 70 ducks are covered in oil, stemming from a spill that has affected the creek in front of her home.

Shuman said the ducks are basically hers but are “wild ducks.”

“I only feed them,” she said, but added the ducks have nowhere to go because their bodies are covered in oil.

Shuman said other residents, who live along the creek, have seen the ducks and wonder how to take care of the situation.

“I have no clue where to begin,” Shuman said.

Shuman has released her e-mail address and telephone number for those who wish to contact her with advice on how to care for the ducks. She can be reached at jshuman9934@yahoo.com, or at 304-266-1263.

“Whatever anyone can do… I’d like for the DNR (Division of Natural Resources) to come in and help. The ducks are covered. They don’t go in the creek like they should. They just walk back and forth like they are lost.”

“When it gets really cold they are going to die,” Shuman said.

Wetzel County Office of Emergency Management Director Ed Sapp said the oil spill occurred Oct. 14 and stemmed from an old storage tank, located on Greenwood Road in Wetzel County.

The director said he doesn’t know of an estimate of how much oil was spilled from the tank, but he did say that the oil stretched for two miles in Fish Creek.

Sapp said the OEM was contacted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, concerning the spill.

Jacksonburg and Folsom volunteer fire departments then installed booms on the streams, to catch the spilled oil.

Sapp said “everything was contained.”

According to a Jacob Glance, spokesperson for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the WVDEP Division of Water and Waste Management – Environmental Enforcement (EE) became aware of reports of a “small oil spill on the South Fork of Fishing Creek in Wetzel County on Oct. 14.”

Glance said the EE inspector worked with local emergency officials to place absorbent boom in the creek in an effort “to recover as much oil as possible.”

“The booms were changed several times, because our EE inspector returned to the area repeatedly to check on the status of the creek.”

Glance said there were also several points along the creek where a vacuum truck was able to remove some of the collected oil from the creek.

Glance was also unaware of how much oil was spilled. He said it is believed the tanks that leaked were owned by J.A. & M. Oil and Gas in Jacksonburg.

Glance said the EE inspector believes there were pockets of oil that were trapped in slow moving sections of the creek “which were then freed during a period of heavy rain.”

“Unfortunately, it appears the ducks did come into contact with some of the oil,” Glance’s statement read, adding that the WVDEP has been in contact with WVDNR and local residents “to determine what the best course of action is to clean the oil off of any ducks that were affected.”

Bret Preston of the WVDNR said he has reached out to the DEP. Preston said the WVDNR was notified Oct. 24 about the ducks, and he sent the information on to the DNR’s Wildlife Biologist. Preston had no further updates.