2012-11-30 / Letters

Future Problems From Sandy

Dear Editor,

We have just endured the worst storm that our neighborhood has ever witnessed. The devastation to most was catastrophic, and our prayers and thoughts go out to those neighbors who lost their lives during this terrible storm. We will come back and hopefully return to life as we have known in the past. My intention, though in this letter is to address a serious problem that has not been taken care of as far as I am concerned. That problem is the spillage of home heating oil from ruptured oil tanks during the storm. This could lead to some serious repercussions. There are some short term problems from exposure such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness; Also, irritation to your eyes, nose, and throat, which can lead to breathing difficulties. Mild skin irritation can also occur.

If the spill is not cleaned properly symptoms can be more serious, such as liver and kidney damage. You can also experience high blood pressure and increased risk for cancer because of one of its constituents which is benzene. Benzene is a carcinogenic and can lead to leukemia.

Heating oil is also an environmental pollutant that can poison soil, groundwater, and wildlife and their habitats. We have seen two sick racoons on our block in the last five days, both of them died.

Federal and state laws require investigations when heating oil spills or leaks occur or cause environmental contamination. The NYSDEC (Deptartment of Environmental Conservation are offering to come and clean and pump any spillage from residents at no cost. You can call 800-457-7362. But what about the oil that has already leaked? We all saw the ruptured tanks lying in the streets following the storm. We smelled the fumes in our homes and we saw the residue on our interior and outside steps.

I have yet to see any State or Federal Inspectors, and the people from the DEP cannot answer any questions on the subject, they are down checking our sewers. It's time to make sure our neighborhood is environmentally sound and let the rebuilding continue. God Bless, and let's all witness the rise of a better, stronger Rockaway.


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