Army Corps of Engineers Dredges Irene's Debris From New York Harbor
Most of the attention on cleaning up after Hurricane Irene has focused on restoring power or clearing flooded homes, but there is also plenty of work to be done to keep the waters surrounding the city safe. NY1's Transit reporter Tina Redwine filed the following report.
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Tuesday was a beautiful day for fishing in New York Harbor, but members of the Army Corps of Engineers were on the hunt for potentially deadly debris left in Hurricane Irene's wake.
The Army Corps has 650 employees in the tri-state area and operates a small fleet of boats to patrol area waters. They routinely dredge channels to keep them open and collect floating debris.
Right now, they have more on their plate than usual. Some of what is floating now -- like a section of the pier at an old sugar milll found near the Verrazano Bridge -- could cause very serious damage.
"You're possibly talking about an environmental disaster if it should poke a hole in a barge carrying heating oil or gasoline something like that. You could have a ferry boat sink, full of passengers," said Army Corps Deputy Chief of Operations John Tavolaro.
The corps says potentially dangerous debris may be headed our way from upstate..
"We've already got a reports of large piers with boats attached that have broken loose of the Hudson River and we may actually dispatch our boats up there rather then wait down here," said Tavolaro.
The engineers have dropped tons of debris onto barges in Jersey City to be hauled away. It is the kind of work they do every day, but it is not something that is usually noticed by most New Yorkers.
"We may not be known to the public, but we are in the New York Harbor community and we are appreciative for that. It's an nice feeling," said Tavolaro.