Response continues to environmental threats after Hurricane Sandy

Northeast Atlantic Coast Guard NewsNEW YORK The Hurricane Sandy Pollution Response Unified Command continues to focus on environmental threats and hazardous substance mitigation efforts within marinas, bays and harbors throughout New York and New Jersey caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The interagency pollution response consists of federal, state and local agencies that have a strong working relationship, and have been coordinating pollution response operations for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

Responders with the unified command are assessing affected areas and environmentally sensitive areas for pollution and hazardous substances. The assessments will be used to appropriately respond to the identified areas of pollution. The unified command has created branches, divisions and task forces to safely and efficiently respond to impacted areas.

Below is the current response information as of Nov. 11, 2012:

Snapshot of Operations

– There are a total of 137 personnel responding with the Hurricane Sandy Pollution Response Unified Command, which includes members from:

  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Oil Spill Removal Organizations

– This week pollution response teams will begin leaving notices to owners of vehicles, vessels or tanks that are potential pollution threats to the marine environment in New York and New Jersey. Response teams are working with local marinas and municipalities to search for damaged or displaced vehicles, vessels or tanks that could contain oil or hazardous substances. Upon the discovery of such hazards, the teams will attach red warning stickers with contact information prompting owners to take urgent action. Owners who find a sticker on their vehicle, vessel or tank should contact the Coast Guard Incident Command Post immediately at (347) 515-6418.

– Responders are working with contractors to locate, identify and remove containers that have been displaced by the storm. Containers identified as potential hazardous material will be removed by the pollution response.

– Responders continue to work with marina and vessel owners to remove pollution threats. To date more than 380 vessels have been identified as potential pollution sources, and 43 of those have been removed through coordinated efforts.

– Responders have identified numerous containers, cylinders and barrels across New York and New Jersey that pose a potential pollution threat. The EPA and Coast Guard teams are working with contractors to safely remove these threats.

– Response crews supporting the State of New York have completed operations at P.S. 105 The Bay School, P.S. 207 Rockwood Park School and P.S. 288 The Shirley Tanyhill School. Heating oil tanks were disloged at the three schools by the storm and spilled their contents. The heating oil has been cleaned up and the sites are awaiting final approval from the on scene New York State Spill Engineer.

The Hurricane Sandy Pollution Response is requesting any person who sees pollution to contact the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802. These reports will help responders identify, reduce and remove these environmental threats.

Any oiled wildlife should be reported to the Tri-State Bird Research and Rescue at (302) 737-9543. Oiled wildlife should only be handled by trained professionals for the safety of the wildlife and public.

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