State agencies briefed the public on Monday about a Glendale superfund site that will have another round of remediations in the near future after the toxic PCE has been determined to be no detriment to public health.
The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health held a meeting on March 11 in a small room of the North Forest Park library where residents complained that they were not properly notified of the contaminants beneath the soil in their community.
But DEC claimed there was little chance the public could be breathing the chemical since it is deep underground and a study of 10 homes in 2006 showed no sign of PCE in the air – an admittedly small size – but that 30 year project would flush the soil of the contaminant.
“We should have had flyers coming to our house, we should have been informed by you people,” one attendee said. “Nothing.”
This is why there’s nobody here tonight, nobody knows,” another person said, with many attributing QNS for learning about the meeting.
With most of the contamination up to 100 feet below the surface at the deepest parts, DOH does not consider soil vapor intrusion to be an issue for a few reasons: because although the PCE is concentrated in the ground water, there is a layer of clean water between the chemical and the surface; homes are not at risk because the foundations, unless there are crack in the pavement, will seal out the vapors; and there is no risk of people ingesting PCE because the surrounding communities are on the municipal system which is supplied from upstate.
But Robert Nardella, 78, however, maintained concern about his home after the presentation because of the claim by DEC that the underground plume had migrated west at a shallower level and pointed out that some residents may have dug wells on their property over the years as a means to water their lawn or fill above-ground pools to get around water restrictions.
“Why is it being addressed again?” Nardella told QNS. “I was confused as to why this is coming up again when they did everything to minimize our concerns, you know, saying there was no more vapor and that it’s going deeper and deeper into the ground.”
Nardella was also concerned about his home, which was built in the early 1930s which just have wood floors over dirt in the basement, offering no protection from possible soil vapor intrusion.
“There are still many homes next to that site that have dirt over a wood floor, mine included,” Nardella added. “If there are any vapors coming up, I don’t have any protection.”