From the Queens Chronicle:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be accepting public comment regarding a planned July 7 cleanup of a vacant piece of land in Hunters Point, the agency announced.
The land has been empty for about 10 years and is currently owned by the Queens West Development Corp. According to Thomas Panzone of the NYSDEC, when cleaned, the land will be for residential use. A public library and a park ranger station are also planned for the site, Panzone said.
The contaminated area, referred to by the department as “Parcel 8” is bordered by 47th Road to the north, Center Boulevard to the east, 48th Avenue to the south and Peninsula Park and the East River to the west. It is being decontaminated as part of the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, aimed at addressing environmental, legal and financial barriers that often occur when attempting to redevelop and use contaminated properties.
According to the NYSDEC, the area contains creosote and coal tar-related compounds, left over from the days when the land was home to a roofing manufacturing operation. Creosote can be harmful if ingested, inhaled or touched. It was stored in tanks and drums contained in stills on the land, while fuel oil tanks were used for heating and product processing also polluted the property.
As a result, the soil and groundwater beneath the land is contaminated as were Peninsula Park and Gantry Plaza State Park which have since been covered with clean soil, paving or walkways, preventing humans from being exposed to the harmful compounds. No evidence of related contamination was found within the river sediments.
In order to rid the area of contaminants, the NYSDEC will remove between four and five feet of soil from the top of the area and use chemicals to neutralize pollution in the soil and groundwater. The NYSDEC does not anticipate odors emanating from the site, but odor control measures will be employed, including limiting the size of the area excavated each day, and using odor suppressants, just in case a stench does arise.
The cleanup is estimated to cost between $6 million and $7 million and should be finished next summer.