Potomac Electric Power Co. Chalk Point Power Plant Pipeline Fuel Oil Spill

State TrusteeState of Maryland
Federal TrusteeDepartment of Commerce
AO Bureau

Also Known As

PEPCO-Chalk Point Power Plant

Incident Type




Case Status



Swanson Creek, Patuxent River



Contaminants of Concern Include


Affected DOI Resources Include

Migratory Birds, Anadromous Fish

Financial Summary

Restoration Funds Collected:


*Restoration Funds Allocated:


*Restoration Funds Remaining:


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Case Description

On April 7, 2000, at approximately 6 pm eastern daylight time, a leak was detected in a 12-inch underground pipeline that supplies oil to the Pepco Chalk Point generating facility in Aquasco, Maryland. Approximately 140,000 gallons of fuel oil spilled from the ruptured pipeline into Swanson Creek, a small tributary of the Patuxent River. The spilled oil was a mix of Number 6 fuel, the oil normally transported by the pipeline to generate electricity, and Number 2 fuel, much lighter oil that was being used to flush the pipeline as part of a cleaning process.

Pepco, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Maryland Department of the Environment began containment and clean-up following the April 7 spill. Initial response actions were focused in Swanson Creek, and included deployment of protective booms to limit the spread of oil and the use of vacuum trucks and tanks to collect the discharged oil. On the night of April 8, severe weather conditions caused oil to breach and/or crest over the booms that had been deployed, spreading oil into the Patuxent River, approximately 17 linear miles downstream. About 40 miles of environmentally sensitive downstream creeks and shorelines along the Patuxent River were oiled. Marshes were observed to have been exposed to black oil or sheen, birds were observed to have been oiled, and survey teams collected dead birds, fish, muskrats and other animals.

PEPCO - Chalk Point Generating Station viewed from Swanson Creek, Credit: Rusty McKay, MDE TARSA Field Operations Program

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Case Documents

 Document TypeDocument NameDocument Date
Data pager
Data pager
Page size:
 22 items in 2 pages


 Factsheet Fact Sheet  
 Factsheet Nesting Bird Studies 01/01/2002
 Factsheet Study Summary-Injuries to Recreational Use 05/01/2001
 Factsheet Waterfowl Mortality Study 01/01/2002


 Cooperative Assessment Agreement Cooperative Agreement 10/23/2000
 MOA/MOU Trustees Agreement 08/14/2000


 Study Report Acute Mortality of Diamondback Terrapins 11/09/2001
 Study Report Assessment of Impacts on Benthos 03/05/2002
 Study Report Comparison of Northern Diamondback Terrapin Hatching Success 12/07/2001
 Study Report Estimate of Total Injury to Diamondback Terrapins 02/25/2002
 Study Report Injury to Diamondback Terrapins 03/12/2002
 Study Report Injury to Wetlands 03/08/2002
 Study Report Lost Recreational Use Valuation Report 03/01/2001
 Study Report Modeling of the Fates & Acute Biological Effects on the Water Column 04/01/2002
 Study Report Quantification of Injury to Benthic Resources 03/05/2002
 Study Report Reproductive Success of Bald Eagles 04/11/2001
 Study Report Reproductive Success of Great Blue Herons 05/16/2001
 Study Report Reproductive Success of Osprey Nesting 11/01/2001
 Study Report Total Acute Mortality to Birds 2000 05/07/2001
 Assessment Plan Wildlife Injury Assessment Plan 10/05/2000

Map View

Case Contact

Chesapeake Bay Ecological Services Field Office

Annapolis, MD | (410) 537-4599 | http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/

Associated Restoration Projects

Case Trustees

AO Bureau
Federal TrusteeDepartment of Commerce
State TrusteeState of Maryland

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