U.S. Park Police, Arlington County Fire Department, and Alexandria Fire Department all responded when someone called in concerns about an odd smell. Crews found the small spill in a creek near the entrance to the island and put booms in the water to contain it. Arrangements are being made to reinforce the boom when the tide changes so no containment is lost.
U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser says tests are being done on the substance to determine exactly what it is. Based on the odor, coloration and gelling it is believed to be a petroleum product, possibly a type of diesel fuel.
Nobody was injured from inhaling fumes. Schlosser says it would be very unlikely that this type of product would cause respiratory harm, but workers stationed at the spill are being monitored for any signs of illness.
The National Park Service has arranged for a hazmat mitigation company to clean up the product, but is not sure yet when that team will arrive. Emergency crews will remain at the scene until the clean up is complete.
It’s possible that the bridge connecting Roosevelt Island to the parking lot may have to be shut down temporarily, but for now, pedestrians are being allowed to pass. Investigators are now working to find 0ut who or what spilled the substance.