Aftermath of Hurricane Isabel

Removal of Heating Oil Contaminated Soil

> See Press Release

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agreed to provide funding for 75 percent of the eligible costs to the State of Maryland for cleaning up homeowner’s yards contaminated with home heating oil spilled during the storm surge caused by Hurricane Isabel. Maryland state government is paying for the remaining 25 percent.

Remediation of heating oil contaminated soil will begin in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, two of the jurisdictions with the heaviest impact from the Hurricane Isabel storm surge. Recovery operations are expected to begin immediately. Homeowners with oil impacted properties are urged to call MDE’s Oil Control Program at (800) 633-6101, ext. 3442.

Oil Issues Created by Hurricane Isabel

MDE is actively working with local government to address a large volume of oil, which was released when many residential heating oil tanks were damaged by Hurricane Isabel.  Priority is being focused on tanks leaking oil and any freestanding oil that can be removed.  Unfortunately, there is no immediate remedy for fumes and odors or for soil that has been contaminated with oil until after the oil recovery operation has been completed.  The oil in areas that is lightly coated and exposed to sunlight and open air has already begun to degrade and additional cleanup efforts may not be necessary. 

Click here for a “Question and Answer Summary" that will assist you in contacting the appropriate agency or will give you guidance on how to address an oil related problem. 

Emergency Authorizations to Perform Work in Tidal Wetlands

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Guidance has been issued on expedited licenses granting permission to repair/replace structures in tidal wetlands damaged by Hurricane Isabel on September 18 and 19, 2003.

MDE Recommends Residents With Flooded Wells to Use Bottled Water

> See Press Release

As flood waters recede and power is restored following Hurricane Isabel, MDE recommends that homeowners utilizing wells that were flooded, disinfect their systems prior to consumption--including drinking, cooking, brushing teeth or preparing food. In the interim residents are urged to use bottled water or obtain water from emergency response distribution centers.

For more information, call MDE's Water Supply Program at (410) 537-3702.

Flood Protection Measures

> See Joint FEMA/MEMA Press Release

MDE Re-Opens Chesapeake Bay, Tributaries to Shellfish Harvesting

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MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick (then Acting Secretary) closed Maryland tidal waters to shellfish harvesting on Sept. 22 after Hurricane Isabel caused sewage overflows, inundation of septic systems and the presence of debris in the bay and its tributaries.  Harvesting razor clams for bait was again permitted on September 25. Secretary Philbrick lifted the emergency closure on September 30 when tests of water quality showed that Isabel’s effects had subsided.

For additional information call (800) 541-1210.

MDE's Emergency Response

> See Related Press Release

The MDE Emergency Response Division's (ERD) has been deployed to contain and remove oil and chemical spills on land and in water all over the State.  MDE's ERD has special training to properly address potential chemical, biological and radiological threats.   The ERD personnel have been coordinating their efforts with local emergency responders and Hazardous Materials teams since September 18.

To report oil or suspected hazardous material spills, call toll free (866) 633-4686 or (866) MDE-GOTO.​​


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