DEP RESPONDS TO OIL SPILL
IMPACTING PASSAIC RIVER
(06/04) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) is successfully working to contain a spill which
discharged fuel oil into the Passaic River yesterday morning.
"DEP responded immediately to this situation, deploying cleanup
workers to contain the discharge and prevent further contamination
of the Passaic River," said Acting DEP Commissioner Lisa P.
Jackson. "DEP is leading a multi-agency response team that
will work around the clock to ensure that the cleanup is done properly.
Once containment and recovery efforts are completed, we will assess
the extent of environmental damage and consider further action."
A preliminary assessment indicates that a 10,000 gallon above ground
storage tank at Tilcon discharged fuel oil into a containment area,
then into a nearby storm drain, which later spread through a tributary
into the Passaic River. The sheen covers a portion of the Passaic
River from Totowa to Paterson. An investigation as to the amount
of the discharge is ongoing.
DEP is leading a team of responders from local, county, state and
Federal agencies to contain the discharge. The Department hired
two contractors, Atlantic Response of Carteret and Environmental
Product Service of Linden to undertake the cleanup. At present,
there are 22 individuals working to contain the discharge. In order
to contain the spill, booms have been deployed in various locations
along the River. DEP is also monitoring efforts to flush out all
the storm drains in the vicinity of the discharge site and contractors
are continuing to vacuum product from the River's shoreline.
"The Passaic County Department of Health HAZMAT Response Division
will continue to provide ongoing local resources and support to
the DEP and other local response agencies to ensure the safety of
the community," said Deborah Rucki Drake, Health Officer.
As a precaution, the Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC) shut
down intakes from the affected portion of the Passaic River. According
to PVWC officials, drinking water has not been impacted by the incident.
Thus far, approximately 9,000 gallons of oil/water mixture has
been recovered from the containment area surrounding the fuel tank.
DEP estimates at this time that 500 gallons of oil/water mixture
has been recovered from the River. Recovery of free product is ongoing.
DEP will continue to oversee the work of the contractors and remain
on site while cleanup efforts continue.
DEP received a report from the Passaic County Sheriff's Office
at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 5 that a sheen was visible in the
Passaic River in the area of Paterson. DEP's Bureau of Emergency
Response, along with Passaic county authorities immediately responded
to the call and with the help of the New Jersey State Police, traced
the source of the discharge to Tilcon New York Inc., an asphalt
manufacturing facility located in Totowa.
Agencies collaborating with the DEP on the response are Passaic
County, New Jersey State Police, United State Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.