Help Needed Spotting Hazards In Flood Waters Following Gas Spill

Spectrum News by Breanna Fuss

OLCOTT, NY – We can see the damage and debris floating in the harbors and rivers that feed Lake Ontario but, as the water continues to eat away at the land, it’s taking more than dirt with it.

“We are just monitoring and going patrols,” Aaron Woof, marine science technician with the U.S Coast Guard said. “We are trying to identify problems ahead of time.”

Even though the Coast Guard is being proactive, there are dangers they aren’t seeing until they are washed away.

“When the water came up, there was some fuel that leaked out and it wasn’t known until the water came up,” Woof said. “It creates a sheen.”

Woof has been monitoring the spill.

“We estimate probably about 30 gallons,” Woof said.

Yellow containment booms and absorbent materials have done their job and the spill is nearly gone, but Woof says this is part of a greater issue homeowners affected by the rising waters need to know about.

“Any floating debris that would be a hazard to a boat that would breach the hull, pollution sources, machinery, tanks, even if they have dock floats,” Woof listed.

“Take a look at that cell. When it’s out there, the cell line and that represents people’s backyards that are washed away,” Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse said.

Syracuse adds it’s not just the wind that causes the waves to wash things away.

“We be reminded that there still a 500-foot no-wake zone along the shore in the southern basin hear of Lake Ontario,” Syracuse said.

No matter on sea or dry land, Woof stresses to be vigilant because the threat sinks to the depths of the lake.

“Anything that gets into the water column, it enters the food chain through smaller organisms and on up,” Woof said. “Or, it’s something on the surface birds can get into it and it can soak into their feathers.”

If you think you’ve had something hazardous go into the take, call the Emergency Response Center. If you’ve had large debris float away, call the Coast Guard.