Pollution under Greenpoint? It’s worse

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Northeast Greenpoint groundwater — now with more industrial dry-cleaning chemicals!

A state environmental agency revealed earlier this month that even more portions of the neighborhood are highly contaminated, and a site under the southeast corner of Norman and Kingsland avenues is the worst one yet.

“The concentration of perchloroethylene [a chemical used in dry cleaning] in the liquid sample collected was 73 million parts per billion,” said Maureen Wren, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. “This is the equivalent of saying 73 percent pure product [in the groundwate­r].”

It’s the latest finding in a testing area — surrounded by Withers Street, Kingsland Avenue, Newtown Creek and Norman Avenue — that already has concentrations of two dangerous chemicals in the soil and groundwater.

The state started its investigation in 2008, and has since installed more than 110 newfangled soil testers, 110 groundwater monitors, and 63 gas wells to monitor the disgusting sludge.

State experts traced the contaminates back to former businesses in the area, including Spic and Span Cleaners, Klink Cosmo Cleaners, and current businesses ACME Metal Works and ACME Steel and Brass Foundry.

“ACME currently operates at multiple locations within the study area, but it is unknown at this time whether these businesses are still contributing to the contaminat­ion,” Wren said.

Now the agency will continue taking air and water samples at nearby residences to make sure locals aren’t in danger.

Mike Schade, a Greenpoint resident and coordinator at the Center for Health and Environmental Justice, said it’s probably too late for that because underground pollution can turn to vapor and affect people’s homes.

“The state estimated that [the newfound site] has been contaminating the groundwater there for 60 to 70 years!” he said. “Given the depth and type of soil, this will be a challenge to clean up.”

He said it’s likely that the state would foot the bill for the cleanup process, then “sue the companies in question to recoup the cost.”

Wren did not return a call for comment on that notion.

Updated 5:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

konrad from greenpoint says:
can we review the actual test data? was there a report filed?
Feb. 18, 2010, 6:15 pm
Adam from Greenpoint says:
I just read "Pollution under Greenpoint? It’s worse". I live in a building at Norman between Kingsland and Monitor,whit is the location specifically mentioned. Before I contact our landlord I would like all the details of what exactly this groundwater pollution means. How does this affect our drinking water, etc. Please let me know when I would be able to call either you or Andy Campbell to further understand this situation.

Thank you for understanding
Feb. 19, 2010, 10:37 pm
David from Greenpoint says:
To second Adam's request: what sort of short-term and long-term effects does this involve? This article doesn't do much to help residents understand the implications of such seemingly disconcerting concentrations of industrial chemicals.
Feb. 21, 2010, 11:29 pm
susan from greenpoint says:
ya i agree - i'm on kingsland between nassau and norman so does that mean I shouldn't drink my water at all? Should I contact my landlord and try to get him to do anything to fix the problem? scary....
Feb. 22, 2010, 12:17 am
konrad from greenpoint says:
check out these two references

looks like there are a few feet of oil at ~10ft below grade within the plume area. our drinking water is actually surface water from upstate so i wouldn't be concerned about drinking the water, but there may be some soil vapors making their way to people's basements (looks like DOH did a vapor intrusion study in 2006/07)
Feb. 23, 2010, 7:05 pm
konrad from greenpoint says:

it gets worse...
Feb. 23, 2010, 7:29 pm
Vasia from Greenpoint says:
Have there been any developments? Will there be any community meetings about this? Extremely concerned...
March 5, 2010, 12:27 pm
mayra says:
check out the newtown creek alliance, get involved with them. get your home tested and a mitigation system installed
Oct. 23, 2010, 7:24 pm

Comments closed.

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