Written by Gary Simeone Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00
Representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health presented the proposed remedial action plan for the Ronhill Cleaners site at last week’s public hearing at Glen Cove City Hall. The site, located at
71 Forest Ave., is currently occupied by Payless Shoe Source.
The State Superfund site was used as retail dry cleaning facility from 1963 to 1993. Improper disposal of tetrachloroethene (or PCE) a dry cleaning agent, resulted in contamination of the soil and groundwater. The site is classified as a Class “2” site in the State
Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites, representing a significant threat to public health and the environment.
“We investigated the soil and groundwater at the site and found most of the contamination contained within the building and hits of contamination at the northwest corner of the building,” said DEC Site Project Manager Nathan Putnam.
He said that contamination in the soil was 30,000 parts per billion at soil level, 200 parts per billion 150 feet below groundwater along Forest Avenue and 900 parts per billion
200 feet below groundwater along Forest Avenue. These figures are considered significant contamination levels according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.
The DEC’s proposed remedy includes soil excavation, soil vapor extraction and in-situ chemical reduction. Site management including groundwater and soil vapor monitoring and system maintenance will be conducted.
“The state came up with six alternatives for remedial action and we chose the alternative that best fit our budget and the public’s needs,” said Putnam. “Our objective is to pull out the contamination from under the building and restore the groundwater to its original state. We also want to prevent migration of contaminants that would result in surface water contamination.”
Putnam added that since the state’s investigation began in 1995, “contaminant levels at the site have been going down due to natural processes but the proposed remedy will help further decrease the levels.”
Glen Cove resident Marie Rummo wanted to know if the DEC had chosen a chemical to help deactivate the PCE levels at the site and if adding another chemical would create further problems in the future.
“We have used a number of chemical agents at sites similar to this one and they have been very effective,” said Putnam. “We have not selected a chemical yet but we only choose ones that we have a good understanding of.”
He said that the chemical chosen could be something as simple as food stock or an iron compound to neutralize the PCE in the soil and groundwater.
“As the design goes forward we will announce a more specific remedy.”
Putnam added that the design phase will be the next step in the project followed by the budget process which should take 12 to 18 months and then they’ll put the project out to bid.
“Within a couple of years we should see some results.”
The DEC has been accepting written comments about the proposed plan for 30 days, from Feb. 26 to March 28. The proposed plan is available for review at the Glen Cove Public Library and Glen Cove City Hall.
Additional site details can be found on the DEC’s website dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/derexternal/haz/details.cfm