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Officials: Low temps, not oil, killed Barnums Channel fish in Island Park

Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) is leading his

Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) is leading his Republican challenger Christopher McGrath for the seat previously held by former State Sen. Dean Skelos. Credit: James Escher

Cold waters likely killed fish in Barnums Channel last week in Island Park, not chemicals from an oil spill last month, environmental officials said.

Newly elected Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) asked the Department of Environmental Conservation to test waters in Island Park for toxic chemicals after he found about 10 dead fish in the waters, east of Long Beach Road near Peter's Clam Bar.

Kaminsky found the bunker species of fish floating belly-up Jan. 8 near pipes operated by PSEG and a mineral oil leak last month. However, DEC officials said no testing was needed of the nontoxic mineral oil.

"DEC investigated the incident and determined the dead fish observed were the result of a winter temperature-related fish kill which affects the species of fish involved," the department stated. "DEC did not observe any dielectric fluid on site. Any discharged fluid during the spill incident would have dissipated. There is no relationship between the spill incident and the dead fish and no testing is warranted."

PSEG officials said there was no evidence to show chemicals killed the fish, but the agency welcomed testing asked by Kaminsky. PSEG worked with the U.S. Coast Guard, the DEC and the Town of Hempstead during the cleanup process. The leak of mineral oil came from underground pipes carrying transmission cables.

"Real concerns exist in the waters around Island Park, and we must remain vigilant to ensure that our waters are free of pollutants," Kaminsky said.

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