On June 19, 2006 a major oil spill occurred in the Calcasieu Estuary. People engaging in recreational activities in waterways south of the four corners intersection, located at light 92, which includes Calcasieu Lake to the coast, need to be aware of the oil spill and take the following precautions:
· Do not go into areas restricted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
· Avoid entering areas where oil can be seen or smelled. If you see or smell oil, leave the area right away.
· Do not fish in areas with visible oil sheens or slicks.
· Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil-contaminated water (for example: swimming, skiing, recreational boating) and sediments (for example: hoisting your anchor). If you get oil on your skin, wash it off with soap and water.
· Do not drive your vessel 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.
· Prevent heat stress: drink lots of water; wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing and a hat; and avoid alcoholic beverages.
Precautions for consuming recreationally caught fish in the Calcasieu Estuary:
h The most prudent action is not to consume dead fish, fish with oily residue or a petroleum odor and fish harvested directly from the oil spill-affected waters.
· A previous informational fish advisory issued prior to the June 19, 2006 oil spill reported low levels of contaminants already present in fish in the area and recommended limiting consumption of fish from the Calcasieu Estuary.
· Fish sampling has not been conducted in the area since the oil spill of June 19, 2006.
· Follow local fish advisories. For a list of advisories in your area, and information about recreational fish consumption safety, contact the Louisiana Department of Health at 1-888-293-7020 or visit the Web site at www.oph.dhh.louisiana.gov.
Cleanup of the oil spill and environmental monitoring is continuing. If conditions change, the U.S. Coast Guard may adjust area access and announce other restrictions in the future.
These recommendations are based on a review of environmental data by the Louisiana Departments of Health and Hospitals, Environmental Quality and Wildlife and Fisheries.
The environmental data, collected between June 20 and June 27, 2006, was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and the U.S. Coast Guard and was evaluated for oil-related chemicals by state and federal agencies.
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.