A remedial action plan is in the works for a state Superfund site in Glendale on the border of Forest Hills which has been known to send a plume of toxic tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, a chemical used in dry cleaning products.
The site at 75-09 Woodhaven Blvd. may have come under contamination in 1967, when the property was used as a knitting mill. The state Department of Environmental Conservation believes the knitting mill may be to blame for the PCE contamination, and since late 1990s a Home Depot has sat at the location.
After more than 20 years of unsuccessful remediations at and around the site, however, the DEC is turning to more aggressive methods to reduce the toxic threat and will be opening up a public comment period both online and through a meeting on March 11 at 6 p.m., located at Queens Library’s North Forest Park branch.
But this is not the only remediation attempt the DEC has made at the site.
In 1997, before the Home Depot was built, a volunteer group conducted an excavation to remove some of the soil and air sparging, a method of digging wells into the ground to air out contamination, was performed in the 4,000-square-foot area.
Air sparging measures have been expanded at least twice throughout the early 2000s to address ground water contamination 30 feet below the water table, but this has been shown to be insufficient, DEC documents show.
DEC said the contaminated ground water should not be an issue for residents since drinking water supplies are piped in from elsewhere, but ground vapors rising through this layer may effect air quality in homes if there are cracks in the foundations. But a study of 10 houses in the area conducted in 2006 came up with no PCE contamination in those homes.
The agency’s goal is to return the site to its pre-contaminated condition if feasible but at the very least minimize any risk to the public.
The DEC plans to implement in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) which is a method of pumping chemical oxidizers into the ground to expel PCE and other toxic substances from the soil and will impact the contaminant’s chemical structure across a 14,400-square-foot area south of Seither Stadium, where the Ridgewood Glendale Middle Village Maspeth Little League (RGMVM) plays.
Queens Library at North Forest Park is located at 98-27 Metropolitan Ave. and the DEC says a 30-day online public comment period will take into the concerns or suggestions of residents in the area.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated there may be contamination in the air surrounding the superfund site in question, but the state Department of Health denies this citing samples taken from 10 homes in in 2006 and other monitors that showed this may not be the case.