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DEC Probes Source Of Oil Spill In Vassar College Stream

The Fonteyn Kill, a stream that flows through the Vassar College campus in Poughkeepsie, is shown at its confluence with Casperkill. The state DEC is investigating an oil spill into the Fonteyn this week.
The Fonteyn Kill, a stream that flows through the Vassar College campus in Poughkeepsie, is shown at its confluence with Casperkill. The state DEC is investigating an oil spill into the Fonteyn this week. Photo Credit: Michael Thaler/Wikimedia Commons

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- An oil spill that befouled a stream at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie is under investigation by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

DEC spokeswoman Wendy Rosenbach said absorbent booms have been placed in Fonteyn Kill to soak up the oil, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Also known as Fountain Kill or Mill Cove Brook, the urban stream is about a mile long and believed to be fed by a spring in Arlington, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

The Casperkill runs 11.6 miles from Peach Hill Park, a 159-acre passive use space managed by the Friends of Peach Hill and the town of Poughkeepsie’s Recreation Department, to the Hudson River.

The Fonteyn Kill has a lot of history behind it. It was on land inhabited by the Wappingers, a native people, and later powered a mill in the early 18th century.

Founder Matthew Vassar is said to have picked the site for his college because of the stream.

Vassar Lake, artificially created at the stream’s midpoint on the west side of Raymond Avenue, was once used for boating and ice skating.

The stream is said to be suffering from “urban stream syndrome,” a condition in which water ecosystems become degraded by various stressors, including development, nutrients from runoff and pollutants such as the oil just found there.

To read the Poughkeepsie Journal story, click here.

To learn more about the Fonteyn Kill and the Casperkill, click here.

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