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Noxious spill hits Bay - ‘Overpowering’ stench sparks multi-agency response

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Officials still don’t know exactly what that oily stuff was pouring into Sheepshead Bay last Friday afternoon, but it made more than a few people nauseous.

Boat crews docked close to the Combined Sewer Outflow (CSO) near Pier 10 on Emmons Avenue were among the first to sound the alarm on Oct. 10.

A crew member of the Atlantis, a party boat docked nearby, called the odor emanating from the mysterious substance “overpoweri­ng.”

Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo said that her office started receiving complaints about the odor at about 4:15 p.m.

“Within five minutes everybody and his brother was out there,” she said.

The multi-agency response forced vehicular traffic to be rerouted as officials at Ocean and Emmons avenues tried to find out exactly where the foul substance was coming from.

New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) spokesperson Thomas V. Panzone says both staffers from his agency and the New York City Parks Department observed water exhibiting an “oil sheen” pouring out of the CSO on Ocean Avenue.

“The New York City Fire Department and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) tried to collect samples from the outfall pipe and from nearby manholes, but there was not enough of the samples to determine what kind of oil it was,” Panzone told the Bay News.

While unable to determine the nature of the noxious oil, Panzone says that the FDNY later informed the DEC that the spill actually originated from a manhole in front of 1780 Sheepshead Bay Road.

“We have had some minor sheen events from this outfall in the past, and NYCDEP has worked with DEC and the Coast Guard to try to locate spillers, in addition to placing containment booms at the outfall mouth,” Panzone said.

After arriving on the scene, United States Coast Guard crews placed a containment boom around the outfall pipe to contain any further release into the Bay.

DEP then contacted contractor Miller Environmental to further address the spill.

Inspectors dispatched to the site again on October 14 reportedly found no further spillage coming from the outfall and the containment booms were removed.

DEC officials say that there is no danger to boaters or fisherman as a result of the incident, and that there is no evidence the spill negatively impacted the marine ecology of Sheepshead Bay.

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