The deadline is Monday, Nov. 19, for you to send feedback to the Dept. of Environmental Conservation regarding the proposed cleanup (PDF) of the former Nuhart Plastics manufacturing facility, a state Superfund site.
The soil and groundwater onsite are contaminated with the plastics softener phthalates and the cleaning solvent TCE, both human carcinogens, and a potential school is being discussed for an adjacent lot on Franklin Street.
A letter from the North Brooklyn Neighbors requests the Superfund remediation process include an independent expert to monitor the cleanup and off-site impacts:
The neighbors/residents need to be confident that site-related activities will not expose the residents and visitors to harmful conditions during any part of the work. The community has raised concerns about dust, odors, noise, and possible off-gassing of VOC’s or SVOC’s during the remediation. DEC should do all it can to ensure off site impacts are mitigated to the great extent practicable to safeguard public health and address community concerns.
The community requests a website for the DEC and developer to share the results of air and environmental monitoring in real time during the clean-up. Such websites have been used and are in use at other cleanup sites, including the Hudson River PCB removal action.
We request an independent on-site expert to monitor the clean up and ensure that there are no significant off site impacts (e.g. odors, ambient air pollution, noise, etc.) to the community during the remediation, especially when the building is being brought down and the contamination on site is being dug up.
The structure outlined in red on the map represents the contaminated lot at the Nuhart Plastics building where the cleanup will be focused.
A thick gooey-like gooey phthalates plume (green oval above) is around 10 feet underground onsite, which extends from under the building to Franklin and Dupont Streets. Wells will be installed to suck up the phthalates to clean up what remains after the excavation of the building’s footprint.
According to the plan, all of the slow-moving phthalates plume will be blocked from further migrating by barriers to be installed around the perimeter of the building and at the corner of Dupont and Franklin Streets, across from the proposed school.
As the vapourous TCE plume (dotted green oval above) is resting in the soil, a system of pipes will be installed to suck the toxins out from the ground.
Monitoring of the site’s groundwater, soil and air for toxins is set to start after the DEC makes a final decision on the cleanup.
North Brooklyn Neighbors spoke with community liaison Dr. Peter Defur, who specializes in advising on environmental cleanups, about the proposed clean up plan. Over the course of the 15-minute interview, Dr. Defur explains that the cleanup needs to be executed slowly and with care to minimize risk.
The start of the process leading to the cleanup will be in Jan. 2019, when leftover equipment, tanks, and piping will be removed prior to the building demolition and removal of the concrete slab base.
You can read the full letter from North Brooklyn Neighbors below and submit your comments to:
NYSDEC, Region 2 Office
47-40 21st Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 482-4905; firstname.lastname@example.org