NYACK, NY -- Two 1,000-gallon propane tanks that washed up on the shore of the Hudson River in Nyack near the Tappan Zee Bridge were safely lifted out of the water Thursday.
South Nyack-Grand View Police Chief Robert Van Cura said his department worked with the Nyack Fire Department, Rockland County Hazardous Material Response Team, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) spill response team and contractors hired by the DEC to remove the tanks.
“It was the storm that took them from where ever they were, and they were floating in the river originally and then when the tide receded they got beached here next to the bridge,” Van Cura said.
Van Cura said the tanks were first noticed Monday night during the storm but they couldn’t get to them until they were beached.
“Now we could actually get to them,” he said. “They weren’t floating.”
One of the two tanks had a busted valve and was leaking, Van Cura said. He added that the propane was leaking as a gas vapor, so it shouldn’t have a negative effect on the river.
“The danger would be that it could be ignited,” he said. “That’s the real threat here.”
Workers tried to repair the leak before lifting the tank up, but eventually decided to vent the tank, letting out the propane while firefighters sprayed the leaking propane with water from the fire hose.
Van Cura said the police department doesn’t know where the tanks came from, but they have serial numbers, so they hopefully will be able to figure out where they came from. The tanks were taken by Suburban Propane to Mahwah, N.J.
Given the tanks position to the Tappan Zee Bridge, Van Cura said closing the bridge for traffic while removing the tanks from the water was discussed.
“The hazardous material team took readings and the bridge was actually far enough back from where the tanks were to not create a hazard area,” he said. “But that was considered as part of the planning.”
Van Cura said there are also propane tanks in Grandview behind residents’ homes and in Nyack on Gedney Street near Nyack Boat Club that were washed away during the storm. He said they will work on removing those on Friday.
The workers started in Nyack on removing the two tanks in the water Thursday at about 10 a.m., setting everything up. Once they got going, Van Cura said it took about two hours to remove both.