L Train Petroleum Stench Linked to Bushwick Avenue Gas Station Spills

The Shell gas station at 2 Bushwick Ave. in September 2017 (via Google Maps)

A shuttered Shell gas station at 2 Bushwick Ave. where five spills were reported from 1989 – 2006 is being identified as the potential source of the L train petroleum stench that has resulted in multiple sick passengers and workers since last week, NY Daily News reports.

The Dept. of Environmental Conservation received the spill reports from the former gas station owners whose business operated directly above the L train between Grand Street and Graham Avenue as recent as 2017.

The Shell gas station at 2 Bushwick Ave. in 2018 (via Google Maps)

The DEC is not officially placing the blame on the former gas station for the L train oil smell, the NY Daily News explains:

Transit officials said the tank was abandoned for more than 20 years after DEC officials opted not to remove it, citing its proximity to the subway tunnels. But their timeline may be off — fuel was sold at the gas station as recently as 2017.

DEC spokesman Sean Mahar said Monday that the agency had not yet identified a single source of last week’s disturbing odor, and that a comprehensive investigation into the issue was ongoing.

City Councilman Antonio Reynoso, whose district includes the vacant station, said his office received very little communication from the MTA on the source of the L train stink.

“To make matters worse, the information we have received is conflicting and leaves many unanswered questions about the gravity of the situation and its impact on the health of the riders and residents,” said Reynoso. “This is especially angering and adds insult to injury when considering that north Brooklyn has a history of experiencing environmental injustices, specifically oil spills.”

 

Fans were installed last week above the Graham Avenue L train station to help dissipate the smell, but commuters continue to report fumes and Councilmember Stephen Levin called for L train service suspension while the source of the smell is located:

The potentially toxic fumes have migrated above ground according to Gothamist who spoke with an L train-adjacent resident about the smell entering their apartment:

Meanwhile, some Williamsburg residents say the fumes have infiltrated their homes. Tracey Madaj, who lives above the L train between Lorimer and Bedford Avenues, told Gothamist that the smell entered her apartment last Wednesday, and has still not dissipated as of this morning. She believes the odor may be giving her headaches and affecting her appetite, and says she’s worried about its effect on her 5-year-old child. Her emails to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection have not been returned, she said.

“Living under these conditions and not getting answers starts to become maddening,” Madaj added.

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