Last April, Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) held a red flag and declared a CAC Industries lot a “red flag site” after learning that a sewer main project in Middle Village was stalled late in 2017 after high levels of lead were found in the soil.
On Wednesday, Int. 1063 passed the City Council, which requires any city development to provide notice to the relevant Council member and community board within five business days of discovering or becoming aware of a hazardous level of lead in soil.
The bill is Holden’s first to pass in the City Council.
“Increased transparency between city agencies and the public is a value that I campaigned on and I’m pleased to see this bill accomplishing that,” he said in a statement.
The soil that had been excavated during the Penelope Avenue sewer work was sitting in a yard leased by CAC Industries across the street from PS/IS 128, a K-8 school. The dirt had been sitting uncovered at the site until a tarp was eventually placed over the mounds.
In April, Holden took aim at the Department of Design and Construction, saying, “If they knew this was contaminated, to leave it uncovered is criminal. To leave it uncovered across from a school is more criminal.”
The discovery about the soil was made after CAC Industries, the project’s contractor, tried to bring the dirt to a dump but management there declined to take it after a visual inspection.
Testing revealed lead levels in the dirt mounds between 300 and 600 parts per million, exceeding the federal limit for bare soil where children play.
Eventually, the soil was removed and relocated to a facility in New Jersey.
“It is common sense that local officials should be notified of any dangerous contamination so they can help inform and protect their constituents,” Holden said in his statement. “There is no excuse for carelessness that this bill will correct.”
Other bills in the package address lead-based paint hazards, lead testing in water, blood lead screenings, childhood lead poisoning prevention and the availability of lead hazard testing.