Friday, March 23, 2007

Is There More Oil Under Williamsburg?

Roebling Map copy

As we noted yesterday, there are concerns about more oil under Williamsburg than the stuff that has been showing itself since the Roebling Oil Field site (McCarren Park Mews) was excavated. (The Roebling and N. 11th oil has its origin in a ruptured oil tank at N. 11th and Roebling.) But, is there a larger spill or multiple smaller spills lurking? Neighborhood activist Phil DePaolo wrote us a while ago that:
It seems that the underground oil spill may extend far into Williamsburg. I have always spoken of the smell that comes from as far away as Meeker and North 7th st. when it rains. I hope all this stuff that the numerous sites throughout Williamsburg are putting in the air is not harming all of us.
Yesterday, he added:
I am really worried about what is being put in the air in a community with very high asthma rates and many children and seniors. I don’t know what is coming out of the ground. We have had many noxious sites in our community over the last 100 years and that may be the issue but my fear is lack of oversight. The fumes that are polluting our air cannot be healthy for us and with two children I am VERY concerned.
The approximate area of concern is shaded in blue above, with the site of the Roebling Oil Field in red. There are some big development sites nearby, one of which is currently being excavated at N. 8th and Roebling. They should be interesting indicators of whether there is a wider problem (with oil) than the small area around N. 11th Street and Roebling. As for other toxic contamination issues, it would be useful to have a thorough and proactive governmental program to test former industrial sites being converted to residential use. While a building may have been used to warehouse clothing from 1960-1990, the industrial history of Williamsburg and Greenpoint is such that it may have been used to manufacture some toxic from 1920-1959. One would think such protection of Brooklyn residents would be a public policy priority for Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and that it would, in fact, be a political bonanza for them with the public.

As we noted yesterday, no testing has ever been done to determine the full reach of the horrific underground Greenpoint Oil Spill. One of the noted "boundaries" of the spill is Meeker Avenue and Mr. DePaolo notes that firefighters used to pour water into the sewers along Meeker Ave., significantly south of the known spill to try to cut the smell of oil.

Related Posts:
Roebling Oil Field Update: Everything is Under Control
Oil Still Oozing into Williamsburg Condo Site

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