Hudson River bridge demolition allegedly causes contamination

Bundled logs may have leaked creosote during Tappan Zee Bridge demolition.

October 13, 2017
CDR Staff
Bundles of logs that serve as ice breakers and a buffer for debris at the foot of an old bridge may have leaked a petroleum product called creosote Sept. 13, a report by The Journal News says. The substance leaked at the site of the Tappan Zee Bridge demolition on the Hudson River in New York.

The Rockland County Sheriff’s Office and the Piermont Fire Department say in the report that the leak caused a sheen on the river near Piermont. The contractors working on the bridge’s replacement, Tappan Zee Construction, say in the report there was no leak despite the fire department claiming it had a visual.

Damien LaVera, Tappan Zee Constructors spokesperson, says in the report that the current was running north on Sept. 13 and crews implemented additional containment booms and absorbent material to clean the river.

The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says creosote is used as a skin treatment but it can be harmful to humans in large amounts. The substance was put on the bundles, known as dolphins, to prevent rot. More than 300 bundles are on-site.

Removing the dolphins is part of the demolition plan. The report says their removal is among the first planned steps. William Barbara, Rockland Sheriff’s chief, says in the report that rain caused the creosote to run off the poles.

The old bridge is set to be taken down piece by piece while the $3.9 billion Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is finished. The report says the old bridge and new bridge share a tie-in on their southbound spans. The entire project is scheduled to be complete in 2018.
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