Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

EPA Confirms Extent of Exxon Oil Spill Under Greenpoint

September 13th, 2007 · 13 Comments

The EPA has finally confirmed what environmentalists have said all along: the Exxon-Mobil oil spill sloshing around under Greenpoint is significantly larger than the originally estimated 17 million gallons. It could, in fact, be as large as 30 million gallons. The EPA also reported the results of testing, including the fact that methane gas is present in some industrial buildings (much of the spill is under an industrial part of Greenpoint) and that chemical vapors were found in all of the properties that were tested. The report clocks in at 85 pages and the Daily News has posted it for those who wish to peruse the many unsettling findings. The EPA did not do any of its own mapping of “the free-product plume.” The exact boundaries of the oil flow are not entirely known.

Brooklyn oil spill may be larger, leaking toxins into homes [NYDN]
EPA says Brooklyn oil spill may be larger than previously thought [Metro]

Tags: Greenpoint Oil Spill

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Sep 13, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Is Exxon-Mobile going to pay for the clean up? That’s my issue. They better.

  • 2 Greenpoint Archive // Sep 13, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    I ask you all to actually read the report. It does not confirm that the spill is larger. It questions its size. It says nothing about vapor findings. It recommends conducting a vapor study, which the NYS DEC completed in May which showed no vapors were coming from the spill into peoples homes. As for the explosive gas, it was Keyspan natural gas lines that needed to be repaired, not the oil spill. The only vapors to date have been found be digging down 14 feet below ground on the industrial property above the old oil storage site near the East Williamsburg Industrial Park . There have been absolutely no vapors found in the residential community. Where do they keep finding oil and vapors? On Roebling Street in Williamsburg, just blocks from where Asral Oil had their refinery. The papers don’t seem to be interested in covering that story.

  • 3 Miss Heather // Sep 13, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Dear “Greenpoint Archive”:

    Where do they keep finding oil and vapors? On Roebling Street in Williamsburg, just blocks from where Asral Oil had their refinery*. The papers don’t seem to be interested in covering that story.

    For someone who lives in the historic district in Greenpoint, you sure like to point out pollution in Williamsburg. Why, may I ask, are you so interested? Does your grandma live there or something? I’d really like to know.

    Of course to admit that an oil spill (and a big-ass one at that) is present in Greenpoint would be a smear campaign against all Greenpointers and a royal buzzkill. To the appreciation of your property and those who want to (over)develop this neighborhood (and are using a “greenway initiative” to enable doing so). The people who are and will be made ill by it are the real opportunists and liars, right? Just poor people looking for a hand-out?

    Miss H

    P.S.: AsTral Oil Works. It was located on the southside of Bushwick inlet (where the Bayside facility is now). You know, the tanks the FDNY had to hose down over a year ago when *THAT* 10 alarm fire happened?

    *This is more than a “few blocks away” from Roebling Street. For someone who calls himself “Greenpoint archive”, John, your lack of knowledge (and spell-check) betrays you and perhaps your agenda.

  • 4 Greenpoint Archive // Sep 14, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Miss Heather –
    I think you should get your facts straight, and a little grammar checking also seems to be in order.

    No one in the media seems to report the fact that more than half of the 17 million gallon spill has already been cleaned up. Also, the remediation process has been going on, with the blessing of local elected officials, since 1992 and continues. Also interesting is that no one points out that the spill is almost entirely under the remote western industrial section of Greenpoint near the East Williamsburg industrial park. There are a few residential streets near Kingsland Avenue that are above the spill, but the vast majority of residential properties are not involved with the spill. A vapor study has been completed by the NYS Dept. of Health which concluded that there were no vapors coming from the spill into homes. There were also no vapors found in the air in the community.


    The smear campaign has included news reports by Marcia Kramer of CBS news and Geraldo Rivera of FOX news first reporting on a cancer victim who lost his leg at age 14. The reports falsely linked this cancer survivor with Greenpoint in an attempt to create a scare about a 30 year old oil spill story. The cancer victim was actually a life long Williamsburg resident, named Sebastian Pirrozi, who now resides in Staten Island. Mr. Pirrozi had never lived in Greenpoint, but it is true is that there were three cases of extremely rare cancer on Devoe Street, the block in Williamsburg where he lived. In fact, one victim got cancer after residing in the same apartment as Mr. Pirrozi. One more case is five blocks away and even further away from Greenpoint towards Grand Street.
    The Sebastian Pirrozi story was also covered by the NY Post (also owned by FOX News Corp) and published on October 15, 2006. When the Post reporter, Angela Montefinise, was contacted about the facts in her story, she said that her editor, Susan Edelman, had rewritten her story before it was put in the paper. She said that she was aware that Mr. Pirrozi never lived in Greenpoint, and that her original unpublished article pointed out the fact that it seemed that there were people who were trying to attach themselves to the old oil spill story to make some money with unscrupulous “ambulance chaser” attorneys. She didn’t understand why her editor reworked her article and misrepresented where the cancer cluster was. She was unhappy that her name was attached to the article.
    Congressman Anthony Weiner who has been in the forefront of this smear campaign stated that Greenpoint has a 25% higher asthma rate than the rest of the city. The only problem is that the two health studies done by the state and city show the asthma rate in Greenpoint to be between 25% and 50% LOWER than the rest of the city along with a 10% LOWER cancer rate. Where are they higher? You guessed it- Williamsburg. The State DEC is aware of toxic industrial sites in Willliamsburg near Devoe Street that could potentially be the cause of these rare cancers, but no one is calling for that study. “Instead, there seems to be a no holds barred attack on Greenpoint and a blatant disregard for the health concerns of the Willamsburg community”, One has to wonder Congressman Weiner are in the pocket of Williamsburg real estate developers trying to cover up a serious health concern that may hinder the sales of their luxury condo developments. “Public officials are to serve and protect life and property- not serve and protect property of their cronies.” One must question whether the recent support of massive residential development in Williamsburg and the historic resistance from Brooklyn politicians (including Borough President Marty Markowitz and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez) to residential development along the recently rezoned Greenpoint waterfront has anything to do with this dissemination of lies.


    Lets do a Greenpoint vs Williamsburg toxic score card.
    Liquid Natural Gas storage facilities in Williamsburg: Yes, in East Williamsburg
    Liquid Natural Gas storage facilities in Greenpoint: none
    Radioactive storage facilities in Williamsburg: Radiac on Kent Ave
    Radioactive storage facilities in Greenpoint: none
    Williamsburg oil spill size: Unknown (it might be even bigger than the Exxon Valdez) The Astral oil company operated on the Williamsburg waterfront for decades and may have spilled over 100 million gallons of oil into the ground under Williamsburg contaminating ground water and creating toxic vapors. Williamsburg’s higher cancer rates may now be better understood. How many new residents know about the potential deadly health risks that this oil poses?
    Greenpoint oil spill size: defined and now half its original size.
    Williamsburg oil spill location: Under newly developed luxury condos and possibly under the majority of the developing community. The full devastating results can only be determined by a lengthy study.
    Greenpoint oil spill location: Under the remote industrial property next to the East Williamsburg industrial park.
    Greenpoint condos being built on former toxic brownfields: none
    Williamsburg condos being built on toxic brownfields: Many (including the Eastern District Site, and now the Williamsburg Oil field site)
    Blogs revealing the toxic hazards in Williamsburg: Hard to find
    Blogs dedicated to spreading lies about toxic hazards in Greenpoint: You can hardly swing a stick without hitting one.
    All of Greenpoint less desirable industries of the past were located in the eastern industrial section along the Newtown creek. Greenpoint’s East river waterfront had been home to lumberyards, rope factories for a century and then was abandoned for nearly half a century. None of Greenpoint’s East River waterfront has the toxic history that Williamsburg’s Eastern district terminal has. The smear campaign unleashed on Greenpoint, just when we it was rezoned curiously excluded Williamsburg’s toxic issues. The media still isn’t covering the issues, just day after day coverage of hipsterville. Do a williamsburg search in the NY times. It’s pretty revealing.
    Luis Garden Acosta, Founder/President & CEO of El Puente, a highly respected community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action has called Williamsburg “the most toxic place to live in America” in a documentary created by Williamsburg based VBS organization. Other rare cancer clusters in Willamsburg have been reported.

  • 5 Miss Heather // Sep 17, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    “Greenpoint Archive”:

    Quick reminder: you have yet to fork over the $5.00 for attending Forgotten-NY’s tour of Greenpoint this June.

    It’s the least you can do for wasting our time and being so rude as to use another person’s tour/livelihood to flog your agenda.

  • 6 Anonymous // Sep 22, 2007 at 11:45 am

    The EPA study states, and I quote from page 4 of the report, “Depending on various estimates, approximately 17 to 30 millions of gallons of petroleum were spilled in the area.” It did not state that it was definitively 30 million gallons. The elected officials at the press conference did say that it was actually 30 million and all of the papers covered it as a new revelation. On page 4 the report says “EPA does not perform health effects studies; EPA does conduct risk assessments at certain sites”. So, the report made no claims about health effects. Why did all the elected officials say it did? Page 5 says “the drinking water in this area is not impacted by the spill. ” It also says “The physical nature of the seeps entering Newtown Creek limits the possibility of dermal contact to a member of the public.” and “the health effects of exposure to the petroleum seeps would be minimal compared to those presented by exposure to sewage and contamination from other historical industrial sources found in the Creek.” The Vapor study the report calls for on page 7 has already been conducted by the NYS dept of health and it came back showing no vapor from the oil spill into homes was found. This study was completed in May 2007. You can see the news report at


    Isn’t it curious how the local elected officials forgot to mention that fact. And most importantly, the report admits that it was created by reviewing already existing data and reports. No new testing was conducted by the EPA for this report. It was just an assessment of old data. That sure isn’t what the newspapers made it sound like. Does the smear campaign continue? Actually read the report, and I’m sure you will agree that the smear campaign is going full steam ahead.

  • 7 Greenpoint Archive // Sep 22, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Seems like Miss Heather has an interest in discouraging interest in Greenpoint (it might even include helping to spread lies about the oil spill story.) Here’s a short list of some of her attacks on Greenpoint. Her bias will become obvious.


  • 8 Greenpoint Archive // Sep 22, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Miss Heather certainly seems to have an interest in discouraging interest in Greenpoint with her phoney posts. One only needs to review her blog posts to see her bias. It’s very interesting that someone who lives in a community would be upset by accurate and verifiable information about the oil spill which clears up some of the scare tactics being printed in the press.

    These links are very revealing:

  • 9 Dr.Deall // Oct 6, 2007 at 8:05 am

    To the appreciation of your property and those who want to (over)develop this neighborhood

  • 10 Allan Royal // Feb 26, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Keep these very good articles coming..

  • 11 Anonymous // Mar 2, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I have been doing a lot of research on this topic since my recent move to Greenpoint, and I have found that “Greenpoint Archive” has gone from website to website promoting this same “pro-corporation” nonsense. Most of what they say is false or skewed at best. I suggest you do your own research instead of listen to them.
    To address one point made by Greenpoint Archive in some of his/her/its posts….yes, the general cancer rates are the same, or a bit lower in greenpoint than in the other burrows, BUT the leukemia rates are DOUBLE. This is important because benzene is a known cause for leukemia. And it just so happens that the benzene vapor is the main biproduct of oil.

  • 12 sohbet // Mar 24, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Tank you!

  • 13 June // Apr 9, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Are you talking about Exxon-Mobile? They’ll maybe pay for a clean up, but, does this change anything.