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Clarification of TONH Payment to EPA for Testing in Vicinity of Landfill

In last week’s issue, our front page story titled “TONH Resolution Sparks Criticism From GOP” needs some clarification.

The issue that caused concern involved a recent town board resolution authorizing a  $90,000 payment to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for an investigation they performed at the Harbor View Estates. These homes were built north of the landfill on Shore Road, which was determined to be a superfund site in the mid-80s, and was subsequently remediated by the early 90s.

 

According to a document from the EPA, in September 1989, the EPA noted in its Record of Decision that it did not evaluate vapors that may have been emanating from a plume as it migrated from the Port Washington landfill site.

In 2004 the EPA was required to perform a Five Year Review of the landfill site that concluded that a potential existed for an adverse impact at a residential development in the vicinity of the landfill known as Harbor View Estates, associated with a plume of contaminated ground water north of these newly constructed homes. The EPA determined that an investigation of potential soil vapor intrusion at Harbor View Estates was appropriate to determine whether these residences were affected.

After discussing the investigation with the town, in 2007 the EPA performed and financed the work, which the town was required to reimburse them for.

That article may have given the wrong impression that the possibility of contamination was a recent occurrence. In fact, the contamination occurred, according to Town of North Hempstead and United States Environmental Protection Agency records, in the 1970s and possibly the 1980s.

In performing the work, the EPA did public outreach, identified residents interested in participating in the investigation, obtained necessary access and sampled and analyzed the potential for soil vapor intrusions in 25 homes.

According to the EPA document, there was no current contamination. It reads “Based on the results, the EPA determined that there was no unacceptable risk present at the sampling locations at Harbor View Estates.”

Regarding the testing, TONH Supervisor Jon Kaiman notes that in 2007 the town sent letters to all residents in the area and held two community meetings with the Harbor View Estates residents.

For a period of time, the town did, and continues to monitor the groundwater and do its testing, and has found no contamination. However, the EPA insisted on doing its own testing to further ensure that the remediation of the landfill was indeed working, which the town paid  $90,000 for on Sept. 8, 2009.

Mr. Kaiman advises that under a consent agreement between the town, when Ben Zwirn was supervisor, and the EPA, the town agrees to remediate all contamination  and monitor and report all future findings to the EPA, in addition to paying for any tests performed by the EPA.

Mr. Kaiman stresses that as a result of this thorough testing, the Harbor View Estates received a clean bill of health from both the town and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Beth Totman at the EPA confirmed with the Port News that there was no evidence of vapor intrusion in the Harbor View Estates.