Looking for Toxins at Ridgewood Site

DEC Probes Former Knitting Mills

State agencies will oversee an investigation slated to begin later this year regarding the extent of contamination at the former site of two knitting mills in Ridgewood, it was announced.

The Times Newsweekly received last Tuesday, Dec. 24, information from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regarding a “draft investigation work plan” currently being created for the former Philru Knitting Mills located inside neighboring one-story structures at 1614-1632 Madison St., between Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues.

Public comments on the plan are being accepted by the DEC through Friday, Jan. 10.

According to the DEC, the investigative work will be performed by 1614 Madison Partners LLC, under supervision by the agency and the state Health Department, as part of the Brownfields Cleanup Program, which offers incentives to property owners to clean up contaminated locations for reuse and redevelopment.

The goal of the investigation is to determine “the nature and extent of contamination in soil, surface water, groundwater and any other parts of the environment that may be affected,” as noted in DEC documents.

Reportedly, the site was first developed in 1914, with several small, one-story commercial buildings erected on the site. It was redeveloped in 1936 to include a post office and a gasoline garage which had an underground site.

By 1943, the two locations consisted of a knitting mill and a gasoline service station, which went out of business 14 years later. A second knitting mill was opened in the gas station’s place in 1957, and the dual mills remained in operation until 1988.

The knitting mill on the former gasoline station site was converted that year into an auto repair garage; the other mill was closed in 2006, it was noted.

Presently, both buildings-with the exception of a portion of the northern end of the lot-are vacant, according to the DEC.

Once the investigation is completed, the findings will be reviewed by the DEC in determining whether action is needed to clean up any contamination found on the site.

Further information on the draft investigation work plan may be viewed by the public through Jan. 10 at the Washington Irving branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which is located at 360 Irving Ave. in Bushwick, about three blocks south of the site.

For project related questions, contact Larry Alden of the DEC by phone at 1-518-402-9767, by email to [email protected] or by writing to him care of NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Environmental Remediation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7016.

Site related health question may be sent to Mark Sergott of the New York State Department of Health, BEEI, Empire State Plaza-Corning Tower, Room 1787, Albany, NY 12237. Questions may also be sent by phone at 1-518-402-7860 or by email to [email protected].