Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

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Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby mbwmn on August 30th, 2011, 7:45 am

... our friends at the Sierra Club never let a crisis go to waste...

Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns
Monday, August 29, 2011 Last updated: Monday August 29, 2011, 10:30 PM
BY STEPHANIE AKIN, SHAWN BOBURG AND ALLISON PRIES
STAFF WRITERS
The Record


A flooded diesel and home heating oil facility across the New York border leaked fuel into the Ramapo River Sunday and Monday, setting off health and environmental concerns and causing downstream residents to complain of overpowering fumes.
“The stench is amazing,” said Oakland Mayor John P. Szabo. “I’m worried about the health effects of prolonged exposure to this.”
Estimates varied, but some officials said well over 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel, home heating oil or both could have leaked into the river.
Officials traced the spill to SOS Xtreme Comfort, a riverside fuel company in Tuxedo, NY. The facility was severely damaged after a dam in Arden, N.Y., was breached during the heaviest part of Irene.
Geoff Welch, chairman of the non-profit Ramapo River Committee, said he smelled the fuel and saw the slick while he was taking pictures of the river Sunday in Sloatsburg, just downstream of the spill.
“I’m very worried,” he said. “It’s the worst spill I’ve seen in the river.”
Welch, who has testified in court cases as an expert on the river, said such contamination could harm the river’s ecosystem, linger in sand and gravel deposits, and leach into municipal water supplies through wells that service Oakland, Mahwah and Pompton Lakes.
Officials from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation were studying oil storage tanks and trucks on the property Monday to determine how much fuel had been lost, Tuxedo police Chief Patrick Welsh said.
“They’re trying to rule out everything, to rule out the worst possible scenario and hope for the best,” he said.
Welsh said the leak had stopped, but a New York DEC official at the scene, who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said it was still leaking.
Mahwah police Chief James Batelli said one of his officers was told 10,000 to 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel had spilled into the river.
A spokesman for the DEC said the agency observed six, 3,000-gallon tankers that were empty and several smaller tankers parked in an area where flood waters had receded. "We are still gathering information," Michael Bopp said, adding that its unclear whether any of the tankers had fuel in them prior to being submerged in floodwaters.
More than a dozen tractor trailers were parked on the grounds Monday evening, one of them jackknifed against another. Another truck swept away by the flood waters was pressed against a large fuel storage tank.
General manager Al Silberlicht said about 30,000 gallons of fuel oil and diesel fuel were stored on this site.
Robert Spiegel, one of the company owners, said the leak was “relatively small,” and that Hazmat teams on the property had told him it was smaller than they expected.
“We know the limited amount [of fuel] we had in each tank,” he said. “We weren’t storing that much product.”
He said three trucks that were in the flood were empty because they had made deliveries on Saturday. Other trucks loaded with diesel fuel or heating oil were hit by water, but their seals remained intact, he said.
Silberlicht said the company had operated the Tuxedo facility since 1976 and had never experienced such extensive flooding.
Residents across the river from the facility were skeptical of accounts that downplayed the spill.
Kristian Matthews and other area residents said they could smell strong gas fumes in their homes, some of which they said came from floodwaters that had entered their basements. One woman said it made her feel sick, and Matthews said he felt a burning sensation in his eyes.
A quarter mile downriver, residents pointed to two large oil tanks that had lodged in a flooded area of the woods. One was a 3,000 gallon red tank, and the second, a white tank printed with “S.O.S.” and “Diesel Max,” was a 500-gallon tank. The smell of gasoline was so strong near the tanks that several residents said they could not stand in the area longer than a few minutes.
Ramiro Cruz said he saw an additional three tanks floating down the river Sunday.
“This morning, we had to close the windows to our house because it was so bad,” he said.
Michelle Micklos said when she woke up Monday morning, “All I smelled was diesel.”
New Jersey officials began receiving reports of the smell Monday morning. Bergen County Hazmat Team Supervisor Jim Taradash said they sent two first responders to the Tuxedo facility after receiving several complaints.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation,” he said.
An official from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection was also traveling to the Tuxedo facility Monday afternoon to investigate, DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said. He added that New Jersey officials could do little to contain the spill on this side of the border until the flooding subsided.
“It will have to just run its course down the river and dissipate with the flood waters,” he said.
He advised anyone experiencing odors or physical sensations associated with the smell to stay away from the river.
The smell itself was warning enough for some Oakland and Mahwah residents.
Howard Wisse, whose Glen Gray Road house in Oakland was still submerged Monday, admonished his young son for attempting to dip a toe in the flood waters.
“Get back!” he said. “I don’t want you in there! You can smell home heating oil everywhere!”
Officials said they were assessing health risks from the spill and those in Mahwah said they would turn off municipal water wells along the river as a precaution.
Local environmental experts said even small amounts of fuel could cause major damage.
“When you have oil tanks leaking into the river, you can have quite a bit of health impacts,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. “It can get into water supplies, fisheries, into people’s homes. You can have major problems.”
(*sigh*)
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Re: Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby johnNY on September 10th, 2011, 1:32 pm

I say, ban all diesel and home heating oil use. Do it for the children.
Twistm scares me
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Re: Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby mbwmn on September 10th, 2011, 2:56 pm

johnNY wrote:I say, ban all diesel and home heating oil use. Do it for the children.


...and how do you propose we keep our caves warm after we deforest NJ?
(*sigh*)
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Re: Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby klg neighbor on September 10th, 2011, 3:13 pm

mbwmn wrote:
johnNY wrote:I say, ban all diesel and home heating oil use. Do it for the children.


...and how do you propose we keep our caves warm after we deforest NJ?


Haven't you heard about the global warming issue? No need to heat our caves anymore. :P
Stocks have double digit gains in 2012.

Actions speak louder than paying a membership fee and more worthy of praise.

It is OK to express a difference of opinion, but if you attack the person instead you are just showing how little you really are.
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Re: Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby johnNY on September 11th, 2011, 10:57 am

mbwmn wrote:
johnNY wrote:I say, ban all diesel and home heating oil use. Do it for the children.


...and how do you propose we keep our caves warm after we deforest NJ?


If you care about the earth,

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... ed-as-fuel
Twistm scares me
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Re: Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby mbwmn on September 11th, 2011, 11:12 am

johnNY wrote:
mbwmn wrote:
johnNY wrote:I say, ban all diesel and home heating oil use. Do it for the children.


...and how do you propose we keep our caves warm after we deforest NJ?


If you care about the earth,

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... ed-as-fuel


ok,
you dry and burn your feces first. send us a message as soon as you figure out the feces conversion hardware for your Dell, and we'll do the same.
:D
not all of us are lucky enough to have a tax break and an energy source like dried alpaca dung,
Future Fanatic
.
Last edited by mbwmn on September 11th, 2011, 11:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
(*sigh*)
mbwmn
 
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Re: Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby johnNY on September 11th, 2011, 11:15 am

mbwmn wrote:
johnNY wrote:
mbwmn wrote:
johnNY wrote:I say, ban all diesel and home heating oil use. Do it for the children.


...and how do you propose we keep our caves warm after we deforest NJ?


If you care about the earth,

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... ed-as-fuel


ok,
you dry and burn your feces first. send us a message as soon as you figure out the feces conversion hrdware for your Dell, and we'll do the same.
:D


ME? No.

I'm gonna tap into my gas well to heat my cave AND supply me with electricity.
I'll put my poop in a bucket and ship it to YOU though.
Twistm scares me
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Re: Leaked fuel in Ramapo River sets off concerns

Postby mbwmn on September 11th, 2011, 11:29 am

[quote="johnNY
ME? No.

I'm gonna tap into my gas well to heat my cave AND supply me with electricity.
I'll put my poop in a bucket and ship it to YOU though.[/quote]


ya, no worries...we'll clean up your drilling mess after you shit all over and then run away w/ your money.

everybody over at neff already converted to pro-drilling afficianodos, so you decided to troll over here, Future Fanatic?
:lol:
(*sigh*)
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