The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is investigating an oil spill into a creek that flows into Lake Chaweva in Cross Lanes that was reported Saturday.
The DEP’s Environmental Enforcement and Homeland Security Emergency Response teams are investigating the source of the spill and working with personnel from the Union Public Service District after a caller reported fish kill in a creek that feeds Lake Chaweva caused by an unknown petroleum-scented oil that was present at the site, according to a DEP report on the spill.
A West Virginia Division of Natural Resources district fisheries biologist documented at least seven species of dead fish and noted dead salamanders, crayfish and worms as a result of the spill, according to Andy Malinowski, director of the state Department of Commerce’s Office of Marketing and Communications. Malinowski added that official numbers were not yet available.
The caller noted a sheen had started appearing on the lake and that oil flow was coming from the path of the Rocky Fork watershed, according to the report.
DEP staff placed absorbent pads and booms to clean up the material that are still in place as a precaution, said Terry Fletcher, DEP acting communications director.
Fletcher declined to estimate how much product was spilled, saying an accurate estimate may not be possible given recent weather conditions and the nature of petroleum-based spills.