The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Blissville Oil Spill

The Blissville Oil Spill, update

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queries were sent out to various parties about the status of the Blissville Oil Spill on the Newtown Creek, and this statement was received from the good folks at Riverkeeper:

“Riverkeeper is concerned about the apparent lack of maintenance of both the hard and absorbent booms that are supposed to be keeping oil from seeping into the Creek,” said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper. “We take any oil pollution in the Hudson River and NY Harbor extremely seriously, and fully expect DEC and the site owner to do the same.”

As an admission, these shots were gathered on board the Riverkeeper patrol boat, whose Captain was gracious enough to consent to my request to get close to the Blissville site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The situation of the Northern Bank of the Newtown Creek, in Queens, was first commented on at this- your Newtown Pentacle- in the December of 2011 posting “An oil spill… in Queens“, and further views were presented in March of 2012 in “Blissville Update“.

Kate Zidar, executive director of the Newtown Creek Alliance (a group of which I am a member and for which I serve as historian) said:

“If we have learned anything from the Greenpoint Oil Spill it should be that seepage from the bulkhead can indicate a much larger issue for the adjacent neighborhood. We can’t claim ignorance of what the seepage at this Blissville Site could indicate. We need to understand the extent of this contamination and get the right mitigations in place ASAP.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It should be mentioned that private conversations with State and City officials have continued, but not too much seems to be happening. The investigation into the matter is seeking out culpable parties, and deciding on a course of action to follow. In their defense, the officialdom referred to above very well might be legally constrained from public comment at this point, so I’m willing to give them a pass.

For now.

Of course, while everyone is figuring out who to sue, oil is still seeping out into the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s no secret that the short end of the stick, from a municipal point of view, is offered routinely to Queens (and the Bronx) by the powers that are. Neither is it a revelation that if this were an ongoing event on the Hudson River that everybody from the Mayor and Governor on down would be posing next to it and rendering funding to seal things up tight.

This is however- the Newtown Creek- and in particular on the side of the Creek where the borough motto should be “Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself”, and I said that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent posting at the Newtown Creek Alliance website, detailing what Riverkeeper’s patrol experienced during a rain event on the Newtown Creek, showed that these booms are easily swept out of position but “Welcome to Queens”. This event has been ongoing since mid 2011 but “Welcome to Queens”. Wells sunk at nearby properties already administered by environmental officials have revealed some seven feet of oil sitting over the water table, but “Welcome to Queens”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lords and Ladies, how long is long enough for oil to be directly seeping into area waterways?

Look at what is happening on the surface here and ask yourself the familiar question- Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

blissville update

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just in case you were wondering, not too much new to report on the oil situation in Blissville Queens, which is found on the northern shore of the lamentable Newtown Creek. Our friends at Riverkeeper continue to investigate, as do everyone’s friends at the State DEC. Conversation with highly placed members of both organizations indicate that they have people working on it.

These photos from the beginning of February in 2012 would seem to dispute that. Compare to the same area in August 2011.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The conversations were informal, and were initiated by your humble narrator. Concurrently, I’m not going to “report” the substance of these exchanges yet, as I’m not “that kind” of blogger. “That kind” would seek to embarrass or denigrate the process and participants for puerile amusement and or self advancement. This is not the case, and I draw a line between what a source tells me privately versus publicly. Suffice to say that things are moving along and that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

The Newtown Creek Alliance is aware of the issue as well, and we are working on it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of you may have noticed that I said “we” referring to NCA, and in accordance with some standard of full disclosure which only one such as myself adheres to- the group has awarded me the title of “Historian”. I’m picking up the fallen banner of my friend and mentor, Bernie Ente, and will strive to earn the honor by continuing to reveal the occluded history of this place.

The initial assessment of the leak, as presented in the posting “oil in queens” back in December of 2011 has garnered little attention from the mainstream press. The sole venue which ran a story on it is the DNAinfo website, their posting can be accessed here. If this was Manhattan, I’d be fighting the NYTimes for access.

But seriously, who cares anything about Queens?


March 5th, as in tonight:

Riverkeeper and NCA ask: How’s the Water? How’s Newtown Creek?

Join Riverkeeper and the Newtown Creek Alliance for a presentation on water quality in the Hudson River Estuary and its tributaries, focusing on the waters around Manhattan Island and in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek.

March 5, 2012, 7:30PM to 9:30PM

Brooklyn Brewery, 79 North 11th Street, NY map

and March 6th, as in Tuesday

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