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Officials: Residential Building in White Plains Source of Spill in Bronx River

White Plains mayor says the spill is contained north of Crane Road.

The hundreds of gallons of heating oil that leaked into the Bronx River and left Scarsdale and White Plains joggers gasping for air today – not to mention numerous animals coated in oil – has been traced to a building at 235 S. Lexington Ave., a 180-unit dwelling in White Plains.

At a 3:30 press conference White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley said the building at the corner of Maple Avenue was leaking the No. 6 commercial-grade oil, but it was unclear whether it was an accidental spill or deliberate attempt at disposal.

White Plains Public Works investigators are questioning those connected to the building.

The clean up, officials said, will take weeks.

Booms are containing the oil's reach from just south of the County Center to north of Crane Road in Scarsdale but already dead fish can be seen floating on the water, animals are emerging slicked with oil and the smell of oil remains overpowering on the shores of the river.

If the size of the response is any indication, the river is absorbing a significant amount of oil. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, it's environmental crime unit, local and county police and the county's Hazardous Materials Team were among those working on the river.

"Preliminary estimates are hundreds of gallons, but they just don't know at this point," said County Health Department spokeswoman Heather McGill in an earlier interview.

"It's been a tremendous effort," said White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley earlier today as more than a dozen emergency responders gathered on the banks of the river behind him. 

Authorities were first alerted at 7:15 a.m. by a jogger from Walworth Ave. in Scarsdale who noticed the powerful odor of oil.

"It's like if you see something, say something," said County Executive Rob Astorino. "If you smell something, say something."

The northbound ramp of Exit 21 was closed for the clean up.

Harrison Local Editor Zach Oliva contributed to this report.

Robert E. June 02, 2010 at 11:47 PM
Would tie effect the New York area like The Bronx drinking water?
Zach Oliva June 03, 2010 at 12:22 AM
No, the Bronx River isn't used for drinking water. But it does flow through the Bronx and into the East River. The major concerns appear to be with pollution and harming animals in the river, but the drinking water comes from a different source upstate.
Jess Wisloski June 03, 2010 at 04:34 AM
To add to Zach's reply, the booms - or absorbing pads they use to stem the oil flow - were installed as far as Mt. Vernon, but officials said today that they only saw oil damage and slick as far as Crane Road in Scarsdale. That's still a 3.2-mile stretch, but a ways off from the Bronx.

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