DEC: Heating oil leaked into Byron Lake from nearby Oakdale home
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Town of Islip hazmat crews responded to an oil spill in Oakdale Friday that seeped into Byron Lake.
The DEC says the spill started in the crawlspace of a home earlier in the week.
Robert Abrahamson felt something was off when he smelled what he described as diesel coming from a stream behind his Oakdale home. He says he didn’t think anything of it until Thursday.
“The smell just got increasingly worse,” he said. "Then we started seeing hazmat trucks, spill response clean ups down by the lake, Byron Lake. And then I said, oh well something's going on. And then late last night, we saw the trucks over here by the creek."
The Department Of Environmental Conservation says a petroleum oil spill started at a home on Lincoln Drive Monday.
DEC crews arrived at the home Wednesday and told the homeowner to stop a sump pump from pumping out the nearly 140 gallons of oil onto the street.
The oil then found its way into a storm drain, into Byron Lake, and possibly the stream behind Abrahamson’s home.
"It's actually gotten worse than it's been yesterday," he said.
The DEC said the spill didn’t harm wildlife. Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito says potential impacts of a spill like this could greatly impact the watershed.
"It can kill aquatic plants. It can kill hibernating reptiles, such as turtles, fish, and it’s very difficult to remediate at that point,” she said. “The longer you wait to clean it up, the more damage it does, and the more costly it is.”
She says the DEC should’ve responded sooner to prevent potential problems further downstream.
"The problem here with Byron Lake is that it is a tributary into the South Shore estuary,” said Esposito. “Once the oil flows into the lake, it's a very good chance it's flowing out into the bay."
News 12 asked the DEC if there's any indication that the oil has reached the bay. The agency hasn't responded back yet.
The DEC did confirm crews will return Saturday to continue the cleanup.