Press Release

AQUASCO, MD (April 24, 2000) -- The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), in cooperation with other state and local health and environmental officials, has lifted advisories it had issued earlier this month against the harvest and consumption of fish, crabs and shellfish on the Patuxent River. Based upon laboratory analyses of crab, fish and shellfish samples, MDE has determined that eating the fish, crabs and shellfish from the river would not pose a significant potential for adverse human health effects.

As a result of the Swanson Creek Oil Spill in Prince Georges’s County, MDE had issued a precautionary advisory recommending against the harvest or consumption of fish and crabs from the river, and had closed the river’s shellfish beds. Shellfish harvesting restrictions due to water quality (bacteria) limitations that were in place before the spill still apply. MDE cautions that there may continue to be patchy distributions of oil in sediments or in other areas of the river that could contaminate fish, crabs and shellfish. Individual fish or crabs that have a petroleum smell should be returned to the water.

A full copy of the advisory status change is attached. The document, as well as a map of the affected area, can be viewed at MDE’s website at