Oil spill in NYC East River


The Living Force
The US Coast Guard has declared part of New York City’s East River a “safety zone” after an unknown amount of oil spewed from a Con Edison substation into the notoriously polluted waterway. A massive cleanup is currently underway.

‘Catastrophic failure’: Oil spill in NYC East River requires massive cleanup

Wed. May 10, 2017 - A statement from Con Edison says a transformer, containing roughly 37,000 gallons of oil, malfunctioned Sunday, releasing “much of the oil” into the station property and the river.

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy told the Gothamist that a “catastrophic failure” caused a transformer to leak dielectric fluid, a mineral oil used for cooling electronic equipment.

Con Ed spokesman Allan Drury said the spill happened at a substation on John Street in DUMBO along the Brooklyn coastline.

Witnesses told the Gothamist that the spill could be seen for miles, with some reporting they could see it from Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island, Queens.

The Con Edison spokesman said that more than half the oil is still in the transformer, according to WPIX.

“We will continue to assess the volume of oil that migrated to the East River, and how much oil remains in the ground on our property,” Con Edison stated in a press release.

On Tuesday, the energy company said they responded to the spill “immediately” by setting up booms, absorbents and skimmers around the spill in the river. The US Coast Guard, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and other agencies are also helping with the cleanup process.

“We are taking all actions to contain and clean up the oil as safely and as quickly as possible,” the company said.

The Coast Guard has declared a “safety zone” for everything south of the waters off Dupont Street in Greenpoint and East 25th Street in Midtown Manhattan, down to Red Hook, and the southern end of the Buttermilk Channel, according to the Gothamist.

The Coast Guard issued speed restrictions for all commercial vessels and has banned recreational boats from the “safety zone” as the cleanup crews assess how much oil leaked into the river.

“Recreational and human powered vessels may not enter, remain in, or transit through the Safety Zone during the enforcement period unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port or designated Coast Guard personnel,” Conroy told Patch. “Mariners are requested to exercise caution while in the area.”

Conroy went on to say that although the oil is not as toxic as the oil in most spills, anyone who comes in contact with it should immediately “wash their skin and avoid touching their eyes.”

The spill also caused problems for the New York City Ferry, which travels near the East River.

“The East River route will be subject to delays for the remainder of the day as a result of an oil spill on the East River,” a statement from the NYC Ferry website states.

The oil additionally caused a system voltage dip that disrupted subways in the city on Sunday.
"The East River route will be subject to delays for the remainder of the day due to an oil spill on the East River."

37,000 Gallons Of Oil Spilled In New York’s East River

May 11, 2017 - A transformer malfunction caused thousands of gallons of oil to spill out into the East River in Brooklyn, NY Sunday. New York power company Con Edison has crews who are working with government agencies to clean up the mess.

Officials say a transformer insulating oil was released from one of the substations. The failed transformer contained 37,000 gallons of oil. The oil was released into the station property and the East River. It seeped into the ground as it moved to the riverbank. A Con Ed spokesperson said more than half of the oil is still inside of the transformer.

The spill impacted the MTA’s subway service causing major delays on several subway lines throughout the five boroughs. As part of the cleanup process, Con Ed placed absorbents and skimmers in the river. They are working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and other agencies to remove as much oil from the water as possible.

As crews assess how much oil is in the river, speed restrictions have been in effect for all boats. Con Ed officials say they have recovered approximately 500 gallons of oil in the cleanup process.

The spill has also created issues for NYC Ferry, which travels near the East River. A statement on the NYC Ferry website read:
“The East River route will be subject to delays for the remainder of the day due to an oil spill on the East River.”

Ferry riders are urged to check with the NYC Ferry website for further information about delays. It isn’t known when any restrictions could be lifted.
This article is a report on a Australia uncontrolled underwater oil leak that has been kept from the public.

Australia’s governmental oil watchdog group knew for months about a previously uncontrolled underwater oil leak but kept the information hidden from the public until now.

Massive Spill Kept Secret: Australia Oil Regulator Hid Key Leak Data for Months

May 19, 2017 - The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), a government agency tasked with monitoring industry compliance as well as tracking well integrity, health and safety, and environmental management of Australia's petrochemical industry, did not report a 2016 two-month uncontrolled underwater oil pipeline leak, only releasing the data now in its annual report.

Following a routine inspection in 2016, NOPSEMA technicians identified an underwater oil pipeline that was continuously leaking oil at the rate of some 50 gallons a day, according to a report by The Guardian.

According to the report, some 3,000 gallons of unprocessed crude oil spewed into the surrounding marine ecosystem over the course of two months before the leak was finally patched.

A spokesperson for NOPSEMA claimed that the leak occurred after a pipeline seal failed. The spokesperson would not reveal the name of the company that owns and operates the pipeline, or the precise location of the spill, asserting only that it happened on the North West Shelf, about 155 square miles of open ocean of varying depth off the coast of Western Australia, which boasts extensive oil and gas deposits.

NOPSEMA and local government officials came in for heavy criticism from Greenpeace Australia Pacific for suppressing the information. The environmental organization observed that no punishments or fines have been levied against the unnamed operator of the pipeline.

Australians, and especially those who rely on the ocean for their livelihood, should be deeply concerned by reports that the national oil regulator has withheld information from the public," a senior Greenpeace official said.

"There's absolutely no justification for continuing to keep the company involved or the location of the oil spill a secret. NOPSEMA must immediately make the identity of the company involved and the location of the spill available to the public," Greenpeace added.

According to the new NOPSEMA annual report, undersea petrochemical leaks increased some 28 percent in 2016, while inspections concurrently dropped 27 percent.

"NOPSEMA's performance report should be a wake-up call to the government and to anyone who has the bad luck of sharing the marine environment with the oil industry," Greenpeace asserted.

Also here:

A subsea oil well that leaked for up to two months off the Pilbara coast last year but was not disclosed until this week belonged to the Woodside Petroleum-operated North West Shelf project.

Woodside oil well in Pilbara leaked into ocean for 2 months

May 19, 2017 - The leak, the biggest reported offshore of Australia last year, was conservatively estimated by Woodside to total up to 10,500 litres of fluid over two months, a spokesman for regulator NOPSEMA said. While no release of oil into the marine environment was acceptable, a relatively slow release rate and not all the fluid being oil reduced the effect, the spokesman said. He said Woodside in early February 2016 moved the Okha floating production facility away from its oil fields, about 150km north of Karratha, because of an approaching cyclone. A subsea remotely operated vehicle inspected the wells two months later, before the vessel returned from routine maintenance, and spotted a leak from a valve control line on the Cossack4 well and isolated the line.

The 274m long Okha sits in 80m of water and collects oil from the Cossack, Wanaea, Lambert and Hermes oilfields that have produced oil for over 20 years. The vessel, commissioned in 2011, is a converted oil tanker. A degraded valve seal caused the leak and Woodside changed its procedures so in the future the valve would be checked before the vessel was disconnected, NOPSEMA’s spokesman said. The regulator took no further action because Woodside made immediate steps to ensure the incident did not happen again. The leak was disclosed in NOPSEMA’s annual offshore performance report without naming the operator or location. Woodside yesterday permitted the agency to provide details. Woodside immediately notified NOPSEMA and both parties investigated the leak, a Woodside spokeswoman said. No more leaks were detected and there was no lasting damage to the environment. She said Woodside was a responsible operator committed to high standards and transparent reporting.
Not yet fully operational, the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in North Dakota in two separate incidents.

Dakota Access pipeline springs 2 more oil leaks

Two barrels, or 84 gallons, spilled due to a leaky flange at a pipeline terminal in Watford City on March 3, according to the North Dakota Health Department. A flange is a section connecting two sections of pipeline.

The department’s incident report said the oil flow was immediately cut off and the spill was contained on the site. Contaminated snow and oils was removed and no people, wildlife or waterways were affected.

In a separate incident, a leak of half a barrel, or 20 gallons of oil, occurred on March 5 in rural Mercer County, according to data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Contaminated soil was removed and no people, wildlife or water ways were affected.

The online report says an above-ground valve failed due to a manufacturing defect causing the leak and upstream and downstream valves were closed to isolate the leak. Later, all other such valves on the line were inspected and were found to be working well.

The Dakota Access pipeline, a construction project estimated at $3.8 billion, will move North Dakota oil 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point in Illinois.

DAPL’s operators, Energy Transfer Partners, plans to begin commercial operations June 1.

That means three leak incidents over recent months, adding to South Dakota already substantial record of environmental woes.

Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said South Dakota typically gets 200 to 300 spills a year from fuel leaks, pipelines, oil wells, and various other sources.

“We do not generally issue a public notice for a spill unless there is an imminent threat to public health, a drinking-water system, or surface-water body,” Walsh told Vice. “We treated this 84-gallon spill just as we would treat any other 84-gallon spill that occurs in our state.”

On April 1, mechanical failure caused an 84-gallons oil to leak northeast of Tulare, a tiny town in South Dakota, according to Aberdeen News.

The leak happened during the testing of a surge pump, according to Walsh, and was entirely contained and is considered small. Environment groups and members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, however, argue the spill is a sign of more to come.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had warned about the possibility of leaks and spills from oil pipelines like DAPL and the threats it could pose to their drinking water supply.

The tribe has also asked a judge to declare that the Trump administration’s reversal of the environmental study and subsequent issuing of the permits as illegal.

“We’ve asked him to vacate the permits which would mean the pipeline has to stop,” said Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “At this point we are waiting for a decision from the court.”

The decision could take weeks or months.

“This is what we have said all along: Oil pipelines leak and spill,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II told Vice. “The Dakota Access pipeline has not yet started shipping the proposed half million barrels of oil per day, and we are already seeing confirmed reports of oil spills from the pipeline.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has curtailed work on a natural-gas pipeline in Ohio after the owner, Energy Transfer Partners, reported 18 leaks and spilled more than 2 million gallons of drilling materials.

DAPL pipeline owner blocked in Ohio after 18 leaks, 2 million gallon spill

The pipeline regulator blocked Energy Transfer Partners, which also built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, from starting horizontal drilling in eight areas where drilling has not yet begun.
In other areas, where the company has already begun horizontal drilling, the FERC said drilling could continue.

The FERC also ordered the company to double the number of environmental inspectors and to preserve documents the commission wants to examine as it investigates the spills.

The biggest spill, in a pristine wetland along the Tuscarawas River about 50 miles south of Akron, covered 6.5 acres, the commission said, “coating wetland soils and vegetation with bentonite clay and bore-hole cuttings.” A video provided by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency showed drilling mud a foot or two deep.

Energy Transfer Partners has asserted that the spills of nontoxic drilling mud, used to cool and lubricate drilling equipment, were inadvertent and had been predicted in its permit application to build the Rover gas pipeline. The horizontal drilling is done to place pipelines well below ground to minimize the chances of contamination of rivers or wetlands.

However, the FERC said that its staff has “serious concerns” regarding the magnitude of the largest spill, “its environmental impacts, the lack of clarity regarding the underlying reasons for its occurrence, and the possibility of future problems.”

It said that the largest spill was “several orders of magnitude greater than other documented inadvertent returns for this project.”

The commission, which regulates all natural-gas pipelines, said that “a stoppage of additional drilling is warranted to facilitate a review of Rover’s efforts to search for and locate any potential releases.”

The Ohio EPA has fined Energy Transfer Partners about $400,000 and has asked the FERC for support. Craig Butler, the Ohio EPA director, said the company’s response had been “dismissive,” “exceptionally disappointing” and unlike any other response he has seen from a company in his 27 years at the agency.

The Rover pipeline is $4.2 billion project that would link the shale-gas-rich regions of Appalachia to Michigan and Ontario.

It is just one of many pipelines whose fate lies in the hands of the FERC, a technocratic and relatively obscure agency. The five-member commission has lacked a quorum since early February, putting new permits on hold. That has placed an obstacle in the path of the White House.

The Trump administration late Monday, May 8, nominated two new members for the commission, potentially clearing the way for controversial, multibillion-dollar pipeline and natural-gas export projects like Rover, which was one of the last permits issued in February.

President Donald Trump has voiced support for new oil pipeline projects such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access lines, and Gary Cohn, head of the White House National Economic Council, recently threw the administration’s support behind a liquefied-natural-gas export terminal in Oregon’s Jordan Cove that had been rejected by the FERC a few months ago.
Top Bottom