The U.S. Coast Guard has reopened some water bodies affected by a major oil spill in the Calcasieu Estuary for boating traffic. However, the Department of Health reminds citizens that although the areas have reopened for boating, they are still advised not to swim or fish in areas affected by the oil spill.

The following public health precautions still apply to areas affected by the oil spill, including those that have reopened for boating:

·       Avoid entering areas where oil can be seen or smelled. If you see or smell oil, leave the area right away.

·       Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil-contaminated water and sediments.

·       Do not swim or ski in areas affected by the oil spill, and if you travel through the area by boat, take precautions when hoisting the boat anchor. If you get oil on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.

·       Do not fish in the oil spill-affected waters.

·       Do not harvest and eat dead fish, fish with oily residue or fish that have a petroleum odor.

·       Do not drive your boat through slicks or sheens.

·       Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the area.

·       Restrict pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.

For more information about recreation and fish consumption, contact the Louisiana Department of Health (Shannon Soileau, 1-888-293-7020), the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (Tom Harris, 225-219-3393) or the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (Terry Romairie, 225-765-2394.)

CITGO has established a toll-free claims number for the incident.  Affected individuals may call 1-800-213-5540 for information.