Originally published by NBC-2 News on January 17, 2024

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is investigating after fuel was found in a North Fort Myers canal along North Gulf Circle on Monday.

The Coast Guard was called to the canal in the Waterway Estates community. They determined a construction company working on a barge spilled fuel on the deck. The area received rain on Monday which helped float the oil off the barge and into the canal.

The Coast Guard is determining whether to issue that company a fine.

This isn’t the first time fuel leaked into this canal. In 2022, there was a different spill. The North Fort Myers Fire Control District investigated but never found a source.

Codty Pierce, the Calusa Waterkeeper, said this could be a deadly mistake. It only takes a small amount of fuel to kill marine life.

“Diesel fuel is considered to be one of the more acute toxic petroleum products that can be applied into the waterway, so anything that comes in direct contact with that does have the risk for you know dire consequences,” Pierce said. “That’s when we start to see some fish kills, we can see a die-off of barnacles and oysters that are attached to the sea walls that are inside of a confined space.”

“Our estuary is our greatest asset so it’s up to us to take care of it and take ownership of it so when we see things like this, please don’t hesitate to call,” Pierce said. “Do the right thing and report it.”

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