2001-03-10 / Front Page

KeySpan Won’t ‘Waste’ Time On Cleanup

By Paula Montemorano

Officials from Keyspan Energy met with Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer earlier last week to discuss the progress of a cleanup at the former LILCO site, a 10-acre parcel, on Beach 108 Street, between Beach Channel Drive and the freeway.

An environmental impact report was expected to be completed and presented to DEC by the beginning of 2001 and information was to be made available to the public by the spring determining what action needed to be done to cleanup the property.

Since Keyspan’s last meeting in October with Assemblywoman Pheffer, soil samples from the site had been taken and presented to the DEC. Now samples need to be taken from a strip of land adjoining the bay, which is owned by the City of New York. In order to obtain these samples, Keyspan needs permission from the city to enter the property.

Officials from Keyspan noted that once permission is granted a consultant will go out and get the information, and once the samples are collected they will be processed. An accurate time span cannot be given until access is provided.

They did, however, state that after the reports are submitted to the DEC, they will be made available to public. To avoid public hysteria regarding potential contamination of the property, a community meeting will be held to discuss the site conditions and findings. At the meeting, concerns will be addressed along with any questions the public may have based on the findings.

Keyspan "inherited" the site as a result of a merger and plan on being responsible for the site. According to Tom DeJesu, government relations director of Keyspan, "If something hazardous to the health is found, it will be remedied and addressed right away. We don’t want to make it worse, we want to make it better."

Investigations done by Keyspan show that waste from the site has not impacted public drinking water wells. The studies show that the waste has stayed in the shallow groundwater. There are no reports on adverse carcinogenic or carcinogenic health affects of former or current workers or on the health of people living near the site.

The types of materials they are expected to find include hydrocarbon wastes such as benzene, toluene and xylene as well as PAH’s and some metals.

KMART and other developers have contacted Pheffer’s office, the community board and the Chamber of Commerce regarding the site.

Plans for the site after the cleanup have not yet been determined. DeJesu said, "We want to make the site useful for the community. But before that could be done it has to be cleaned up."

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