NOAA 2001-062
Contact: Connie Barclay


State and federal agencies have determined that the April 7, 2000, oil spill caused by a ruptured pipeline at Pepco's Chalk Point Generating Facility on the Patuxent River, in Maryland, resulted in recreational losses to the public valued at $453,500. Losses include reduced ability to swim, boat or fish in the area, due to the spilled oil.

The findings are available in "The Lost Recreational Use Injury Report," released by the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. These agencies constitute the natural resource trustees, who are responsible for assessing the impact of the oil spill, and restoring the injured natural resources. The effort is being conducted in cooperation with Pepco, the owner of the ruptured pipeline, and ST Services, the pipeline operator.

The group estimates the decline in recreational use throughout the spill area through a survey of area residents, observations of recreational activity following the spill, and historical records of recreational use prior to the spill. An estimated 12,704 trips were lost, calculated by comparing levels of use over time, and adjusting for weather. An estimate was also made of the diminished value of trips for those who continued to use the area in the months following the spill. The total value of lost trips was $343,010, and the total diminished value of trips actually taken was $110,489, for a total estimated loss of $453,499.

The spill occurred when a fuel pipeline that supplies oil to the Chalk Point Generating Station ruptured, releasing about 126,000 gallons into Swanson Creek and the Patuxent River. Under the Federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the parties responsible for the spill are required to return injured natural resources and services to pre-spill conditions. They are required to compensate the public for the loss of natural resources and services from the time they are injured until they are restored.

The report is the first of several studies to assess the natural resource damages from the spill. Other studies will focus on injuries to wetlands, birds, wildlife and aquatic resources. They are expected to be completed later this year.

"The Lost Recreational Use Injury Report" and other injury assessment studies will help to determine the full nature, extent, and value of natural resource damages resulting from the spill. This information will be used to identify projects to restore the area, and compensate the public for the loss. A draft restoration plan, including injury information and restoration alternatives, should be available for public comment by early next year. Once the draft plan is finalized, the trustees will implement restoration projects with funds provided by Pepco and ST Services.

More information about the spill is provided at the following Web site:

A copy of "The Lost Recreational Injury Report" can be found under the "Administrative Record" section of the Web site, or at one of the following locations:

Lighthouse Point Center Calvert Industrial Park  Information Resource Center
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
30383 Three Notch Rd
Charlotte Hall, Md.
230 Bugeye Square
Prince Frederick, Md.
580 Taylor Avenue, B-3
Annapolis, Md.
(301) 290-0946
fax (301) 290-0943
Mon.-Fri. 9 am - 5 pm
(202) 721-5009
fax (202) 721-5028
Mon.-Fri. 9 am - 5 pm
(410) 260-8830
fax (410) 260-8951
Mon.-Fri. 8 am - 4 pm

For additional information, please contact: Jim Hoff, NOAA, (301) 713-3038 Ext. 188/ fax (410) 713-4387,