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Public Lab Research note


  • 5

Collecting Oil Sheen on Newtown Creek, Dutch Kills, Queens, NY

by Matej with nameiswillis |

What did I do

On a cold day of .... Willis Elkins (North Brooklyn Boat Club and Newtown Creek Alliance) took me on a boat ride across Newtown Creek to look for some random oil sheens which are sometimes floating on Newtown Creek. We planned visit several places where we would have a higher chance to find them. First we decided to focus on the Dutch Kills area in Queens and than on other spots along the creek.

Shortly after we entered the Dutch Kills, we noticed several 2" - 5" thick strings of sheens which reminded us coal tar rather than oil. We collected them with our newly acquired Coast Guard Oil Collection Kit. (small net on the picture below). Than we proceeded deeper into the Dutch Kills looking for more sheens. We could not find any until we came by the 49th Ave Bridge (marked on the Google map above). Than we realized that we are floating in the middle of a huge oil sheen which spans most of that area of the creek. We did not noticed it first, because the whole water surface was a sheen so there was virtually no clean spot of water to compare and see the difference. We collected samples and returned home because we already had enough of material to test.

My attempt and results

We collected the first sheen (suspected coal tar) with Coast Guard Oil Collection Kit. (small net on the picture)

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As the kit manual suggest we collected also a water spec from the same area to compare. (into a small bottle which came with the kit)

For the second - large sheen we used two PIG Mats and also larger glass bottle to collect water and the sheen.

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Questions and next steps

We will attempt to analyze the collected sheens during our workshop at the Sunview Luncheonette using (also testing) the new LED Cuvette frame for our OTK, Freezing Method, and pressure methods for the PIG mats.

More pics from the trip

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new-york-city newtown-creek oil-testing-kit sheen otk newtown-creek-alliance greenpoint oil-sheen

with:nameiswillis


4 Comments

Wow, cool --

sheens which reminded us coal tar rather than oil.

What about the sheens reminded you of coal tar vs. oil?

We collected them with our newly acquired Coast Guard Oil Collection Kit. (small net on the picture below)

Was this successful? Did you see oil in the net, and how much did you have to skim? Was it hard, and what was it like to get the oil out of the net?

Great work!

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Hey :-) What about the sheens reminded you of coal tar vs. oil? - they were little bit different color. kind of more "metallic and dense" if that makes sense.

We collected them with our newly acquired Coast Guard Oil Collection Kit. (small net on the picture below) Was this successful? Did you see oil in the net, and how much did you have to skim? Was it hard, and what was it like to get the oil out of the net? - Yes! there was clearly visible sheen caught in the net. I have to dry that and we will soak it in mineral oil. I skimmed quite a lot, just in case, but the sheen was visible in the net pretty quickly. It really helps if the boat is moving because the sheen just "flows" into the net.

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Oh great - do you have any pictures of the skimming or a "full" net you can post? That'll be really important to document well for others.

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I did not take any pics of the net. It was kind of difficult to balance with the phone in one hand and net in another. I will try to take some tomorrow morning. Hope that will work out.


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