City to Red Hook: Park is safe! No PCBs found in soil tests

City to Red Hook: Park is safe! No PCBs found in soil tests
Community Newspaper Group / Julie Rosenberg

Red Hook Park is no red zone.

Moving quickly after state environmental workers discovered cancer-causing chemicals near the popular park, the city tested the soil — and declared the grounds safe on Wednesday.

Department of Health workers dug down two inches at 18 spots in and around the two soccer fields closest to the alleged source of the contamination — a defunct plastic additive manufacturing plant at Court and Halleck streets.

None of the samples revealed PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, the once-ubiquitous compounds that were banned in the 1970s after they were discovered to cause cancer.

The operator of the plant, the now-bankrupt Chemtura Corporation, is being sued by the state to continue its abandoned clean-up of PCBs, which were discovered seven feet underground and in groundwater near the park, court papers show.

Despite the city testing, residents were not sold on the safety of the park, which is packed with soccer players and food vendor customers every weekend.

“It’s very difficult for us to trust the city, particularly with everything that has been dumped on Red Hook,” said Pete Morales, a regular park user and co-commissioner of the Red Hook Little League. “The trucks, the cement plant — things we learn about in the last moment. I would like to see more testing.”