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News and Media Releases
Post-Tropical Storm Sandy Update #14
November 13, 2012 6:50:32 AM CST
How did Hurricane Sandy impact the Motiva Sewaren Terminal?
Motiva’s Sewaren terminal and other nearby facilities were significantly impacted by flooding, loss of power, heavy wind and other issues due to Hurricane Sandy.
What damage occurred to your storage tanks?
Four diesel storage tanks and associated piping were damaged by the storm surge with at least one storage tank releasing some of its contents.
What product was in the tanks and how much was released?
The product was ultra low sulfur diesel. The exact volume of diesel released will be determined after crews have safely completed inspection of the affected tanks.
Where did the spilled diesel flow?
Some of the released diesel was contained within the secondary containment area or dikes around the storage tanks while a certain amount did spill offsite into Woodbridge Creek.
What did you do to stop the spill?
We immediately implemented our emergency response plan to ensure the flow of diesel was stopped following the hurricane event. Safety of the nearby community and responders is Motiva’s primary concern and previously developed safety plans are being implemented as part of our response effort.
Were any employees injured by the storm?
Thankfully, no storm related employee injuries occurred.
What are you doing to clean up the spill?
At the peak of operations, approximately 150 responders were deployed, using 14,800 feet of containment boom, 14 skimmers, nine vacuum trucks, three shallow water barges, 18 work boats, absorbent pads and boom to recover diesel. We also have additional equipment staged nearby for use should the need arise.
Responders are making progress to contain and recover a mixture of diesel and water that had spilled within the containment area and in sensitive habitats and waterways, including Woodbridge Creek, Smith’s Creek and on Arthur Kill Channel.
Who else are you working with to clean up the spill?
We are working in close cooperation with US Coast Guard, NJ Dept of Environmental Protection, National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency and local agencies. We are also maintaining open dialogue with Woodbridge Township officials.
What is diesel and how does it react to contact with water?
Diesel fuel is a light, refined petroleum product. When spilled on water, diesel spreads very quickly to a thin film or sheen and most of it will evaporate or naturally disperse within a few days or less. In addition, diesel readily disperses under moderate wind conditions and completely degrades by naturally occurring microbes, under time frames of one to two months. (Source: NOAA website)
Is the diesel odor that some residents smell hazardous to human health?
We apologize for any inconvenience to nearby residents due to diesel odors. Air monitoring conducted by Motiva and the USCG in the community near Smith’s Creek has indicated normal air readings with no detections of elevated compounds. Therefore, there is no indication that odors in the area present health hazards.
How has the spill impacted the wildlife such as birds?
Responders are working closely with the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, with fourteen birds having been rescued and sent to their main facility in Newark, Delaware, for rehabilitation thus far. Unfortunately, five of those birds did not survive.
To file a claim for loss and damage caused by the spill.
Motiva will thoroughly investigate claims for loss and damage caused by the spill and is committed to responding and paying for legitimate claims. To file a claim, please contact the Crawford 24-hour claims number at 1-877-269-1681.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our apologies to the community for this incident. The Motiva terminal has been operating since the 1930’s and has a strong history in the community. We work each day to run the terminal in a way that does not impact our neighbors.