Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oil Released Into Jamaica Bay

Paerdegat Basin Park/Paerdegat Basin Creek. Paerdegat Avenue North and Seaview Avenue. 

A yellow oil boom was placed around a storm sewer between the Midget Squadron Yacht Club and Sebago Canoe Club, two of the Parks Department's five maritime concessions which were impacted by the spill. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

At least 1100 gallons of petroleum were released into Paerdegat Basin Creek - part of Jamaica Bay - when a power company's abandoned pipe line ruptured.

National Grid was working on filling in an old gas main pipe with cement when it ruptured spewing oil into the much improved creek.   Dozens of concerned Canarsie residents called 911 and 311to report the noxious smell which began on Thursday and could still be detected blocks away over the weekend.

Some people complained of headaches and nausea.  Boaters where worried if dangerous PCB's were released into the area.

"You could taste oil in your mouth" a boater said at the Midget Squadron Yacht Club. 

The Coast Guard sent out pollution responders. The FDNY, and NY State DEC also responded.   Miller Environmental Group, an environmental waste crew was quickly dispatched and sent two large vacuum trucks, and a tanker truck.

The containment and clean up included laying down oil booms and blue absorbent pads in the water. The clean up is expected to last days. 

Both NYFD and the Coast guard personnel were out over the weekend surveying the area and warning boaters about the spill.   The public is advised to avoid fishing and recreational activity in the area.

Oil. Blue absorbent pads were placed in the spill area.

In addition to what got discharged into Paerdegat Basin National Grid contractors were seen filling up multiple 55 gallons drums along Seaview Ave in front of Canarsie Park. 

"Our whole club filled with gas," said Mike Keller from the Diamond Point Yacht Club, one of five Parks Department maritime concessions in the spill area.

He said he was entering the club's driveway on Paerdegat Avenue North on Thursday when he was hit with the oder.

"My car completely filled will the smell of methane gas to the point where I was gagging.   This whole area was filled with methane gas, waves of gas," he said pointing to Yacht Club grounds.

Mr. Keller  who has been coming to the club for 25 years said the spill was helped by the outgoing tides on Friday. He brought up the information on his cell phone which showed that from 7:35am-1:32pm on Friday the tides were going out to Jamaica Bay.

"That took a bulk of it out to sea. It's disbursed into the bay.  We've been through it all out here."

Gianni Lopez, 52, experienced the unpleasantness first hand when his Kayak tipped over into the putrid waters.

"It was my first time out here. You could smell the stench as soon as I got out here, I didn't go out very far," said the Park Slope resident wiping down his Kayak at the Sebago Canoe Club.

"I went under, I wasn't too happy about that. I'm going to wash very well today."

A number of boaters thought the 1100 gallon estimate was "conservative."

"This is an unfortunate environmental incident as our waterways are a local treasure,"  Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Swanson, Coast Guard spokesman in New York said in a statement.    

"Coast Guard pollution responders, working closely with city and state partners, will ensure the responsible party performs a proper and complete cleanup of the spill site."

"On Sept. 27 National Grid and its contractor were working on filling in an old gas main that is no longer in service with cement, the energy company said in a statement.  

"During the process an oily water residue spilled from the exit pipe into a valve box. An odor from the residue was released, resulting in a number of odor calls. We were onsite with crews throughout the night investigating and did not find any gas leaks. We immediately notified the appropriate agencies and we and our environmental contractors are working under the direction of the Coast Guard and the NYS DEC to clean up a spill in Paerdergat Basin."

FDNY investigating the scene.

Oil on the water.

Coast Guard personnel inspects the conditions with a boater at the Sebado Canoe Club. 

A yellow oil boom was placed around a storm sewer between the Midget Squadron Yacht Club and Sebago Canoe Club. 

Read More:

Metro NY - September 30, 2012 - By Jesse Greenspan 

CBS - September 30, 2012 - Alex Silverman

New York Post - September 30, 2012 - By Dan Macleod

NY1 News - September 30, 2012

Sheepsheadbites -  September 29,  2012 - by Ned Berke

The Associated Press - September 29, 2012

WABC - September 29, 2012

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