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What are the Types of Illegal Oil Spills in New York?

Posted by Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht LLP on April 3rd, 2023

Oil spills produce dangerous conditions for not only the impacted home or business, but often the surrounding community. The numerous health hazards anyone exposed to an oil spill face present an immediate cause for concern.

Understanding the circumstances that lead to New York oil spills allows home and business owners to be better prepared. You may not be able to prevent a spill, but being aware of these potential spills allows you to spot them earlier and mitigate the damage.

Overfill of a Tank

One of the most common spills occurs when a tanker puts more in an oil tank than the tank can handle. When a delivery driver hooks up to your unit, a whistle will sound to indicate that air is flowing out of the vent pipe as the tank fills. When this whistle stops, there is no automatic stop like there is when you are fueling your car’s gas tank. Instead, the driver will have to stop the delivery of oil and safely detach from your tank.

These spills commonly happen when drivers become careless and fail to closely monitor the equipment. Listening to music, getting lost in conversation, or simply not being able to hear the whistle can put everyone at risk.

Delivery Error

On top of just overfilling a tank, the delivery driver must also understand the equipment they are working with. Some tanks can look different from others and use different mechanics to deliver the oil. The driver will be responsible for ensuring the equipment is all properly attached and tightened.

If a driver hooks up to something that isn’t the fill pipe or even hooks up to a fill pipe that isn’t directly connected to a tank, the oil being delivered will create a massive spill. If you understand your own equipment or are working with a new driver, it’s worth double-checking all steps before the delivery takes place.

Equipment Malfunction

An oil tank is a solid structure. These steel vessels are generally about 275 gallons and weigh roughly 2,500 pounds when filled with oil. When a tank is filled, oil is delivered at a rate of about 80 gallons a minute, putting significant pressure on the tank.

As these tanks age, they become more prone to leakage or even blowing under the pressure. When this happens, the oil can often shoot back up the vent pipe and out onto the ground where the tanker is sitting. They can also leak into the soil where the tank is sitting.

The delivery equipment itself can sometimes malfunction, as well. Technology isn’t perfect and hoses can break, causing oil to spill everywhere. Paying attention to the equipment as it does the intended job can protect you and your property.

Any of these spills create an urgent need for not only remediation but also legal action. You have rights in the event of an oil spill in New York. The team at Sunshine, Isaacson & Hecht can help you navigate the legal challenges to come.

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