At a public meeting held Sept. 30 at the East Meadow High School, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), reported on the progress and future plans related to the investigation and remediation of five inactive hazardous waste sites located within the New Cassel Industrial Area (NCIA).
The NCIA, which contains approximately 200 commercial and industrial operations on 170 acres, and encompasses several residential neighborhoods, is home to several sites currently listed on New York State's Superfund registry as Class 2. The Class 2 sites pose a "significant threat to the public's health or environment" due to groundwater contamination affecting several public water wells.
Proposed Remedial Action Plans for Atlas Graphics, Arkwin Industries, Former LAKA Industries, Former Applied Fluidics, and Northeast Corner of Hopper and Main Streets sites were discussed at the meeting, as were various health issues related to the NCIA.
Anna Ruepp, DEC project manager, reported the proposal to remove the Northeast Corner of Hopper and Main Streets Site from the registry, claiming that, "At this time, there are no significant threats to the public health or to the environment as a result of activities at this site. The DEC believes that no further investigation or remediation is necessary, and is proposing that no action be undertaken at the site."
Originally, this site was listed Class 2 in May of 1997 based on off-site groundwater data from sampling locations along the property boundaries, as the property owner refused to undertake an on-site Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study. However, a state-funded investigation conducted in October of 1998, in which on-site samples were collected, revealed that no contaminants were detected in on-site soils. The presence of 1,2-Dichloroethene in groundwater on and off the site is most likely due to contamination from the up-gradient Swalm Ave. site, Ruepp explained, as no on-site source has been identified. Hence, the DEC's proposal to "delist" the site.
No action was also proposed regarding the condition of the soil at the Former Applied Fluidics Site, located at 770 Main St., although DEC Project Manager Richard J. Lilley, P.E. reported that the site will remain Class 2 due to substantial groundwater contamination.
The Former Applied Fluidics site is currently occupied by a department store, which was newly constructed in 1998. Prior to that, Applied Fluidics, a defense contracting company that regularly used trichloroethylene, paint thinners and petroleum distillates, occupied the site from 1974 to 1988. As the building was not connected to the municipal sewers until 1983, subsurface discharge was the common means of waste disposal. The building was demolished in early 1998 and excavated as part of the redevelopment of the area. The excavated soils and demolition debris were removed from the site.
"While it is conceivable that sources of the contamination at the site may have been cleaned up, at least partially, when the sewers were installed in the 1980s, what we are seeing is the contamination that remains," Lilley said. "The level of groundwater contamination increases significantly as it passes under the site." Remediation of groundwater conditions at the Former Applied Fluidics Site will be discussed further at the next public meeting, date to be announced.
The Proposed Remedial Action Plan for Former LAKA Industries Site, located at 62 Kinkel St., includes the removal of soil contaminated by metals and volatile organics by excavating an abandoned cesspool source area. Cleanup of this Class 2 site would involve removal of the contaminated material to an off-site disposal, and backfilling the resulting excavation with clean fill material. Groundwater quality would be monitored semi-annually for a period of two years.
In 1977 there was a documented disposal of approximately 50 gallons of TCE to a cesspool located on the Atlas Graphics Site, a Class 2 site located at 567 Main St. Analysis of liquid samples taken from the cesspool showed high levels of TCE. Presently, on-site groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds. The DEC proposes to remediate the Atlas Graphics Site by soil vapor extraction and air sparging, a method that has shown "good results" in the past. Additionally, semiannual sampling of three existing groundwater monitoring wells will occur.
Arkwin Industries Site is bounded by Main St. to the north, New York Ave. to the west, and State St. to the east. As part of the manufacturing process of precision machinery for the aerospace industry, chlorinated solvents were utilized. Evidence of chlorinated solvent contamination was discovered in several aquifers in 1986. Remedial investigations show that the contamination is primarily in the shallow groundwater. The DEC's proposed remedy includes remediating the contaminated shallow groundwater by using an AS/SVE system.
NYSDEC will only select a final remedy for each of these sites after consideration of all comments submitted during the public comment period, that began Sept. 13, 1999 and concludes Oct. 13, 1999. Based on public comments or new information, NYSDEC may modify the preferred alternative, or select a response action other than the ones discussed at the public meeting. The public is encouraged to review and comment on all alternatives proposed. After the public comment period, the DEC will document and respond to public comments and document the chosen remedy.
Following the DEC's discussion of the proposed remediation plans, Jacquelyn Nealon, Environmental Health Specialist with the NYS Department of Health, addressed questions and concerns of residents in attendance. She explained the three routes of exposure that contaminants can take, inhalation, direct contact, and ingestion, and reminded residents that "Ingestion is the only category where there is possible risk of exposure."
"Although the groundwater that flows into the Bowling Green Water Supply Well has been contaminated," Nealon said, "the water is treated. Before it goes into your faucets, the water goes into the wellhead, where it is treated. It must meet certain standards ascertained by the DOH before it comes to you."
Nealon also reminded residents that interruptions in water service and rust-colored water do not indicate contamination. "Sometimes when there is a water line break, or if construction is being done and a water pipe or line is hit, you may have to stop using water because it is no longer appropriate for consumption," Nealon explained. "The contaminants that we have been speaking about do not have a color. They are clear."
The public is encouraged to review documents related to these sites available at the New Cassel Environmental Justice Project, 847 Prospect Ave., New Cassel, 876-9526.
Submit written comments to Richard J. Lilley, Project Manager, NYSDEC, 50 Wolf Rd., Albany, NY 12233-7010.
For further site-related health concerns call Jacquelyn Nealon at 1-800-458-1158, extension 27530.