COAST GUARD: Mark barrels and drums used to hold down piers and docks

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO While barrels are being used to weight down docks along flooding Lake Ontario, the Coast Guard has requested the barrels be marked with a red "X".

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With flooding impacting many areas near Lake Ontario, the Coast Guard is requesting large, red “X”s be placed on barrels and drums used to weigh down piers and docks.

The markings will help the Coast Guard determine those objects as “non-hazardous” if they become adrift, a press release from the Coast Guard stated Friday.

The markings can also help mark potential hazards that are posed by otherwise submerged and unseen docks.

If any barrels become adrift and the contents are unmarked, by law the Coast Guard responds to them as a potentially hazardous substance since the contents are unknown and could potentially contain dangerous chemical or petroleum products. In some circumstances, the Coast Guard needs to take precautions such as hiring a hazardous material contractor recover the barrel from waterways, which can cost more than $5,000 per container. Additionally, Coast Guard personnel are required to stay on scene with the container. This would potentially take personnel away from other local emergency responses or search and rescue cases in the region.

For further information, contact the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Command Center at 716-843-9527. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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