Tag Archive | "ExxonMobil"

Some Businesses Taking a Big Hit with Bay Street Road Closure

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web Tight Lines Tackle-Kenny Morse 11-21-11_5470

For over 11 years, Ken Morse has served everyone from veteran fishermen on the East End to the green tourist looking to hook his first catch.

For years, Morse, who has a degree in ecology with a focus on marine science, has run a successful business out of Tight Lines Tackle inside the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard on Bay Street. He offers not just rods, reels, tackle and lures, but education in the local fishing industry when needed.

Unfortunately, Morse hasn’t had many customers in the late fall to share his expertise with.

Since the third week in October a portion of Bay Street has been closed to traffic while ExxonMobil officials attempt to remediate a section of the roadway and village-owned grassland in an effort to clean up tainted soil that began seeping up from the ground in the summer of 2010.

As part of the remediation plan, ExxonMobil workers are removing 950-cubic-yards of fill near the intersection of Burke and Bay streets. With Bay Street closed to traffic from just past the Dockside Bar & Grill to just in front of the Loeffler building, which houses several businesses and offices, traffic from Route 114 has been routed from Bay Street to High Street and back out to Bay Street via Rysam Street.

ExxonMobil has provided signs to aid cars attempting to get around the road closure and to the other side of Bay Street when coming from Sag Harbor’s Main Street.

However, Morse says that has done little to help his business, which has floundered since Bay Street was closed.

“There is zero traffic coming our way,” said Morse on Monday.

“My last good weekend was Columbus Day, and that was right around when they were getting ready to get started,” he added.

Morse said he was working with his accountant to put together paperwork for ExxonMobil showing the decline in business this year compared to the same time in years past. He estimates business has dropped a whopping 60 to 80 percent when compared to previous years.

Project delays have led to the remediation stretching into the month of December rather than finishing up in November — a devastating blow, said Morse, as it could mean the entirety of his holiday business sales may be affected by the project.

Morse is not the only business that has been affected. Lynn Park, the owner of La Maisonette, an antiques and home furnishings store on the ground floor of the Loeffler Building, said the remediation has “definitely affected business.”

“We are a new business and depend a lot on drive-by traffic,” said Park on Sunday. “With no through traffic it has been very, very slow.”

Sag Harbor Yacht Yard owner Lou Grignon said he, too, believes businesses in the area that depend on retail sales have been hurt by the road closure. While the yacht yard is faring well, its ship store has seen a decline in business, he said.

Amy O’Donnell-Rajs, coined an “operational wizard and geeklet” at GeekHampton, also located in the Loeffler Building, said that company’s clientele — desperate for tutorials, technical support or repairs for their computers — are driven to find a way to the store regardless of a road closure.

“We have customers who will persevere,” she said.

However, O’Donnell-Rajs said that the detour has proven difficult for a lot of customers to navigate and signage informing people that businesses are operating east of the road closure would be helpful for everyone in the neighborhood.

ExxonMobil has heard that request.

On Monday, field manager for ExxonMobil Kristin Mobyed met with Morse briefly, he said, and informed him that she would pass on any information he had to ExxonMobil about his situation. Morse said he and his accountant were compiling financial records to submit to the corporation later this week.

Mobyed did agree to order new signage informing people that businesses are open east of the road closure, and changing the dates on a sign indicating the project’s length.

According to Claire Hassett of ExxonMobil’s Public and Government Affairs department, the company anticipates “completing this work before the December holidays.”

“I can tell you that we appreciate the public’s patience as we work to complete this project in the safest manner possible,” said Hassett in an email.

“Obviously, I cannot speak to how businesses have been impacted,” said Hassett in a separate phone interview. “We certainly want to work with the community to make sure any issues are addressed.”

After hearing the road closure had impacted businesses in the area, Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride immediately took advertisements on WLNG and The Express in an effort to help.

“I think it is important we let people know that businesses in the area of the ExxonMobil project are open for business,” he said. “I would encourage all village residents to support them at this time.”


Specter of Oil Resurfaces

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Over a year after oil began bubbling up from monitoring wells across the street from a former fuel depot on Bay Street near the entrance to The Breakwater Yacht Club, officials from ExxonMobil announced plans last week to remove 950 cubic yards of soil from the grassy area that hosts the Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market and the adjacent roadway in an effort to clean the area of any tainted soil.

ExxonMobil operated an oil tank farm in Sag Harbor from the early 1920s through the mid-1980s on both sides of Bay Street. After the site closed, it was subject to a massive remediation effort in an attempt to remove oil that had leached into the soil over the decades.

The property on the north side of Bay Street was donated to the village in 1994 and the other ExxonMobil property sold to Stephen Loeffler in 1996. Loeffler recently constructed a two-story office building on the site.

The area of concern, according to the Roux Associates report, is at the intersection of Burke and Bay streets.

According to Roux Associates report, there have been three reported spills around that section of the former ExxonMobil property, the first in 1989, the second in 1998 and lastly the oil bubbling from the ground in 2010.

At the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, August 9, Deputy Mayor Tim Culver asked that village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren review the plan, prepared by the Islandia firm Roux Associates. According to correspondence between the village and ExxonMobil officials, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has already signed off on the plan.

On Tuesday, Mayor Gilbride said that Warren has initially reviewed the plan and has some questions. Village officials are expected to meet with ExxonMobil sometime in the next two weeks, he said.

ExxonMobil officials hope to begin the project in mid-September, according to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride. As a part of the soil removal, ExxonMobil plans to use a parking lot next to the Breakwater and the village’s wastewater treatment plant to house a temporary groundwater treatment system, equipment, and stage an area to load soil into trucks for disposal. Temporary traffic closures have also been requested on Bay and Burke Streets, and ExxonMobil has said it will coordinate with the Sag Harbor Village Police Department to handle traffic control during the four-to-five weeks the cleanup is expected to take. 

After the oil rose to the roadway in 2010, ExxonMobil responded to the site, because of its history in the area, reads the report, and removed oil from the road surface, as well as surface water that exhibited signs of an oil sheen. Ongoing site visits, according to the report, have occurred almost weekly since the incident.

During their investigation, Roux Associates made several borings into the affected area and analyzed the soil for volatile organic compounds (VOC) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC), and also tested groundwater throughout the area.

According to their report, there were several detections of VOCs — in shallow sections of the soil borings — that exceeded NYSDEC regulations, as well as evidence of SVOCs.

None of the compounds were in excess of those standards at the bottom of the soil borings, closer to groundwater, according to the report, and their concentration decreased with depth.  Levels of VOCs were also observed in eight of the nine soil borings where groundwater was collected.

Groundwater in the area, notes the report, is not used as a source of drinking water.

Based on these findings, Roux Associates has proposed a remediation project they say is aimed to achieve a permanent cleanup of the area. In addition to removing contaminated soil, they propose to re-fill the area with clean soil and restore the roadway once the project is completed.

The area will continue to be tested for VOC and SVOC once the project is completed for an undetermined amount of time. 

According to Mayor Gilbride, while ExxonMobil hopes to start the project as early as mid-September, the village will first meet with company officials and hash out the details of the plan. The Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market, he noted, will likely be affected and have to find a new location once the project begins.

The summer market generally runs through the harvest season, ending on October 29 this year.