Date of incident: A leaking pipeline valve was first observed
at 8:00 am on December 16, 2005.
Location: The ConocoPhillips Bayway Rahway River
Tank Field is located adjacent to the Rahway River, Linden, New Jersey.
Case status: Restoration planning.
Overview: At approximately 8:00 a.m. on December 16, 2005, oil
was observed leaking from a ruptured valve located at the Rahway River Tank
Field at the ConocoPhillips Company’s Bayway Refinery in Linden, New Jersey.
The valve was immediately replaced and the discharge of oil/water mix was
stopped. An estimated 250 barrels of red-dyed No. 2 fuel oil mixed with 1,700
barrels of water was released. Much of the released oil flowed off-site for a
short distance before entering the Linden Landfill property south of the tank
farm. From there, the oil flowed overland through a wooded area and a marsh to
a drainage ditch that flows to a tributary to the Rahway River.
The tributary also drains runoff from a small wetland area within the Linden
Landfill property south of the tank farm to the Rahway River. Initially, the
oil was mostly contained within the wooded and marsh areas, but because of rain
and associated snow melt, some product was carried through the tributary into
the Rahway River. Emergency response and recovery operations were promptly
initiated, including the use of vacuum trucks and the placement of containment
and deflection booms. Because of tidal action, river flow, and westerly winds,
some oil subsequently entered the Arthur Kill by becoming entrained in flow
underneath booms that were placed across the mouth of the Rahway River. The oil
floated on the water surface and was tidally and wind dispersed both upstream
and downstream in the Rahway River from the release site, as well as across
Arthur Kill waterway to the Staten Island, New York shoreline.
Pre-assessment activities relating to ephemeral data collection and an initial
Natural Resource Damage Assessment were conducted from December 17 to 20 in
conjunction with response activities. The objective of these activities was to
rapidly collect data and samples, establish baseline conditions, identify the
area affected by the spill, and begin to assess the potential impact.