Bootcamp Day 3 assignment: “webifying” a short article

[Today’s homework was to incorporate both our morning’s discussion of how to make articles more functional for online reading and our afternoon’s tinkering with basic audio editing. We were given a fact sheet about an oil spill along the Potomac and some audio files and told to try to make as web-friendly a post as possible.]


Residents alarmed and authorities declare emergency as oil pollutes Potomac.

Officials have declared a state of emergency in Fairfax County, Virginia after an underground pipeline has ruptured, near the town of  Reston, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum into local waterways. The pipeline, owned by Colonial Pipeline Inc., has spilled 350,000 gallons so far into Sugarland Run Creek, about a third of which has reached the Potomac River.

Below you can hear residents Jane Doe and John Smith describe the scene

The Fairfax Water Authority has already moved to protect local drinking water supplies by shutting down intake valves downstream from the spill’s entry point into the Potomac. Residents are advised that they may notice a drop in water pressure.

The U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, and local fire and rescue departments have marshaled more than 100 people to start the clean up efforts. They have erected dikes and placed absorbent booms in strategic locations to help with containment.

Authorities have advised residents to do the following

  • do not fish
  • do not go boating
  • do not even go jogging nearby
  • reduce water use for the time being

Hear Fairfax Fire Chief, Glen Gaines address the public:

The oil, eight inches deep in some locations and emitting a strong smell, has already impacted local residents and wildlife. While there has been no mandatory evacuation, 41 residents have fled their homes. Animal wardens have already rescued 44 injured animals, from beavers to turtles, who have ingested oil or been coated with it, 9 of which have died.

Atlanta based Colonial Pipeline Inc. has had five major oil spills in Virginia since 1987 and costs for this cleanup are expected to top $1 million. Officials have said that damage from construction crews several years ago may be responsible for the 42-inch rupture and an 18-foot section of pipeline is being taken to Washington for inspection by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Listen to Colonial Pipeline spokesman, Noel Griese:

There have been three major oil spills in the last three years due to underground pipes in Northern Virginia.


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