Sandy Ruptured Shell-Saudi Oil Tank; 349,000 Gallons Spilled

by | Nov 1, 2012

Cleanup efforts are underway to remove 349,000 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled into New Jersey’s Arthur Kill waterway as a result of Hurricane Sandy, according to media reports.

The spill happened late Oct. 29 when a storage tank ruptured at a Motiva Enterprises oil tank facility in Woodbridge and spilled into the waterway separating New Jersey from New York’s Staten Island, according to the Associated Press. Motiva Enterprises is a joint venture of Shell and Saudi Refining Inc.

As of Oct. 31, NOAA’s Emergency Response Division was on the scene, responding to the Coast Guard’s request for scientific support for three separate oil spills in Arthur Kill, as well as for “orphan containers” and “many potential hazmat targets.” The spill involved about 8,300 barrels of diesel, bio-diesel and slop oil, The Huffington Post reports.

The Coast Guard said that the spill is now contained, the AP reports.

Meanwhile raw sewage, industrial chemicals and other pollutants flooded New York City waterways as Hurricane Sandy moved inland.

Officials have warned residents to stay away from potentially toxic sites including the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, HuffPo says. The 1.8 mile canal was recently designated a Superfund cleanup site by the EPA because of industrial pollution and sewage discharges.

According to clean water advocacy group Riverkeeper, Sandy’s storm surge has caused widespread pollution of the Hudson River and New York Harbor by a variety of toxic chemicals, including petroleum and fluids from cars and boats; contaminants from flooded subways, roads, parking lots and tunnels; and contaminants washed from shoreline industrial sites, as well as commercial and residential buildings.

The group says oil sheens and debris have been observed — everything from 55-gallon drums and quart-sized containers of transmission fluid, to wrecked boats and swamped vehicles with leaking fuel tanks.

And in North Carolina, the Division of Marine Fisheries has closed shellfish areas across several counties, including Onslow and Carteret, and in all waters from the Intercoastal Water Way to the mainland between Salliers Bay and the Atlantic Beach High-Rise Bridge, because of Hurricane Sandy pollution concerns, the Jacksonville Daily News reports.

Photo Credit: Riverkeeper

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