Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Businesses evicted from Superfund site
From DNA Info:
The auto parts company that Albert Rodriguez built up over the last 20 years on Irving Avenue will soon be gone — for his own good, according to federal regulators.
His garage, Primo Auto Parts and Services, and six other businesses sit on the radioactive remains of the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company, a property stewed in carcinogenic toxins.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that all the tenants in this industrial corner of Queens must leave to allow the agency to remediate the site.
Business owners were caught by surprise by the announcement and left wondering what they're going to do next.
The agency has budgeted $1,112,500 to help move the tenants, according to the EPA's report on the remediation released Tuesday, but it has not given specifics on how the money will be spent or when the businesses will be evicted.
The business owners first got wind that they might have to move off the site permanently at a public meeting in August where the EPA presented four different plans, including one that would let them stay on site and another that would allow them to leave temporarily and return after remediation.
"I thought there was some chance we could stay," Rodriguez said in Spanish. He had left the meeting hopeful that he'd still be able to save his businesses.
The .75-acre site operated as a chemical company from the 1920s until 1954, according to the EPA. Wolff-Alport imported radioactive monazite sand from the Belgian Congo and used the factory to extract rare earth metals like uranium and thorium.
The EPA believes the toxins were dumped in the sewers and buried there.