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Greensboro oily goose sightings near spill site will continue despite cleanup

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- There are still oily goose sightings in Greensboro one week after an oil spill into a retention pond off Bridford Parkway, even though the cleanup is over.

The Environmental Protection Agency left the site Tuesday. Skimmers and other tools were used to remove the thick substance from the retention pond between a shopping center and an apartment complex south of Wendover Avenue.

Guilford County Environmental Health will continue to monitor the pond but other geese have returned to the water and are showing no signs of oil on their bodies.

“That's always a good sign when you see the animals back on the water,” said Scott Cole, a manager with the health department. “Everything we've been told by the cleanup contractor and the EPA is that it is an oil-based material we don't have a true identification of what the product was.”

Animal welfare groups remain concerned about the geese affected by the oil. Of the seven geese caught and sent to the Charlotte area for cleaning one has died. Volunteers with Piedmont Wildlife Rehab would like to catch five more but they are still mobile enough to avoid the nets.

“The oil is heavy on their feathers and it makes it hard to them to fly and breathe -- they can’t go very far with all that weight,” said Fran Martti, with the rehab group.

Volunteers will continue to watch the area and try and capture birds in need of cleaning.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue is in the process of cleaning the geese but because the oil is thicker than what they usually deal with. That means a longer recovery time for the birds and a greater expense than normal for the nonprofit organization.