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Heating Oil Spills Into Bronx River

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The oil spill.

A broken fuel line between two heating oil tanks is blamed for a Bronx River spill that extended more than a mile from a brook feeding into the river at Railroad Avenue in Valhalla to Virginia Road in North White Plains.

“It was definitely accidental,” Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno said.

The spill was discovered Friday afternoon at the Legion Drive bridge near the Valhalla business district.

First responders traced it to a building at 5 Railroad Avenue, where a crossover pipe between two 275-gallon tanks had broken. The property is the site of several industrial businesses.

Authorities do not know how much heating oil was in the tanks, but Alagno said fuel went into a sump pump, filled the basement with oil and then began seeping into the brook.

Police from Mount Pleasant and Westchester County were on the scene, along with Valhalla firefighters and workers from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Booms were placed at several points along the river to contain the oil. The last booms were placed near Virginia Road by North White Plains fire volunteers to prevent oil from moving farther south.

Caren Halbfinger, spokeswoman for the Westchester County Health Department, said the property owner has hired an environmental contractor to clean up the spill. She said investigators do not know how much oil entered the river, but the tanks had not yet been filled for the winter.

No summonses were issued.

 

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John Ryan

is a Clifton Park, New York native, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City and a freelance reporter and photographer. He received a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy in 2003. He served two tours in Iraq as a platoon leader in the U.S. Army, wrote a 160-page guide to capture insurgents and earned a Bronze Star for meritorious service before being discharged as a captain in 2008. He is a certified personal trainer and will represent Ireland at the World Lacrosse Championships this summer (2010).