News Feature | November 2, 2016

NYC Contractor Dies After Falling Into Wastewater Tank

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,
@sarmje

brooklyn bridge reg new.jpg

A New York state environmental contractor died after falling into a concrete tank at a wastewater treatment plant in Brooklyn on October 26.

Buffamante, 31, of Hawthorne, NY, “initially survived the horrible ordeal before dying at a hospital,” the New York Post reported, citing the police. He spent about eight minutes in the water, News 12 Brooklyn reported.

Buffamante fell from the scaffolding into the tank, “which was filled with wastewater treated with chlorine. The tank is the last step in the process in which sewage is scrubbed before it is released into the waterways,” the New York Daily News reported.

Firefighters responded to the call at the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sheepshead Bay around 12:30 p.m., PIX11 News reported. “Cops and firefighters desperately searched for the man, who was ... found by a pair of FDNY divers,” the Post reported.

Officials said Michael Buffamante was performing capital upgrades at the facility, PIX11 reported. He was an employee of Welkin Mechanical, a construction firm specializing in process piping, pumping, filtration, and in-facilities water and wastewater projects. The company was contracting with the New York Department of Environmental Protection(DEP).

“The DEP issued a statement sending thoughts and prayers to Buffamante's family, friends and colleagues,” News 12 Brooklyn reported.

Buffamante, who was wearing protective gear, was installing dechlorination equipment. Reports said it was not immediately apparent why he fell in.

Officials said paramedics performed CPR as Buffamante was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, the New York Post reported.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the tragedy, News 12 Brooklyn reported.

To read more about workplace accidents visit Water Online’s Labor Solutions Center.

Image credit: "brooklyn bridge," jason kuffer © 2007, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/