May 18, 2017
Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach experienced a discharge of 94,000 gallons of JP-5, a military jet fuel, to London Bridge Creek on May 11, 2017. The tributary flows to Wolfsnare Creek and the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River. Fuel recovery is ongoing. The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed that neither drinking water sources nor shellfish growing areas were impacted by this release. The public has been advised to stay away from the spill site.
Officials are monitoring air quality around the spill site and impacted waterways. The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH) has received reports from residents who live in neighborhoods near the spill site with complaints of headache, nausea, and throat irritation. These reports are consistent with symptoms associated with exposure to fumes from a fuel spill. Individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions may be more sensitive to fuel vapors and therefore may experience more discomfort or irritation. Please reference the attached “Guidance for Providers Caring for Persons Exposed to Jet Fuel” for more clinical information.
In the interim, limiting exposure or staying elsewhere while cleanup is ongoing are options for residents to consider in order to mitigate symptoms associated with fuel odors. As of 5/17, residents in three neighborhoods are being offered voluntary relocation. Residents who call the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH) and report worsening symptoms or changes in their personal health will be referred to their health care provider for evaluation and/or treatment.
VDH will continue to monitor the situation with Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, VBDPH, and our emergency preparedness partners. We will continue to keep clinicians and residents informed as new information develops.
Additional resources may be found at the following:
- CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
- ToxGuide for JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A Fuels
- S. Navy Oceana fuel spill website
- Relocation information: (757) 544-2295 or via email at Oceanacomments@navy.mil
Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP
State Health Commissioner
Heidi A. Kulberg, MD, MPH
Health Director, Virginia Beach Dept. of Public Health