10/6/12

Response to Paerdegat Basin Oil Spill Clueless, Ineffectual

The State Department of Environmental Conservation and National Grid blamed the FDNY, which turned on a fire hydrant to wash away the odor from an oil spill, for unknowingly flushing the cancer-causing pollutant polychlorinated biphenyl into a storm drain emptying into Southern Brooklyn's Paerdegat Basin.

The FDNY was responding to multiple calls, in the aftermath of the spill last week, complaining of a strong gas smell in Canarsie and Bergen Beach. Nobody told the city that National Grid contractors pumping cement into an old pipeline had pushed as many as 1,400 gallons of toxic residue out onto Paerdegat Avenue.

According to the FDNY, contractors at the scene advised responding firefighters to open the fire hydrants to clear the smell.  If firefighters had been fully informed, the FDNY said, it could have taken measures to dike the storm drain to contain the release.

But environmentalists say the entire cleanup effort is a failure -- that the spilled oil is washing right over floating containment booms and coating the entire surface of Paerdegat Basin.

Fishermen beware:  samples from inside the old National Grid pipeline have tested positive for PCBs.

Swimmers, ditto.

The cleanup effort is expected to continue through next week, as a US Coast Guard investigation gets underway. If the Coast Guard finds that National Grid is at fault, the utility will have to pay the costs of the cleanup effort. 

The article from Brooklyn Daily.

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