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Unsealed Tunnel Leaks 640,000 Gallons of Oil

From Associated Press

An unsealed tunnel leading from a storage tank leaked up to 640,000 gallons of oil Tuesday, and nearly 300 gallons spilled into a waterway that leads to the Atlantic, officials said.

“It wasn’t sealed and why it wasn’t sealed is something we are looking into,” Coast Guard Capt. Robert C. North said.

Between 420,000 and 640,000 gallons of oil poured from the tank, but most of it was contained on land by a system of earthen dikes, the Coast Guard and the state Department of Environmental Protection reported.

“There’s no threat to people,” North said. “We’re concerned about the environment if the tank should rupture.”

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Department spokesman Gary Allen said the oil in the water was confined to a 20-foot-by-80-foot area and was no more then 10 feet out to sea.

Workers were vacuuming the oil from the Arthur Kill, the narrow waterway separating New Jersey from the New York City borough of Staten Island, using absorbent booms.

“It is free-flowing oil, so it should not take more then a day to clean up,” Allen said. He said the oil was fuel oil No. 6.

The spill was reported at a tank owned by Northville Industries. The tank is one of four near the edge of the Arthur Kill.

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