2004-09-17 / Front Page

Former LILCO Site To Be Toxin-Free By 2010

Stephanie Selmer, of the state Department of Health, spoke about the cleanup plan.
Stephanie Selmer, of the state Department of Health, spoke about the cleanup plan. The site of the former Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) will be completely clean of toxic chemicals and ready for some sort of community development by early 2010, according to experts who spoke at a Beach Club meeting hosted by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) last week.

The informational meeting, called by the DEC to report on the Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) for the site, was lightly-attended by local residents, a sharp contrast to earlier meetings when more than 100 local residents voiced their concerns about the site.

Douglas MacNeal, a remediation specialist with the DEC, makes his presentation.
Douglas MacNeal, a remediation specialist with the DEC, makes his presentation. At the meeting DEC specialist Doug MacNeal outlined the steps to be taken in cleaning up the former MGP site, located along Beach Channel Drive between Beach 108 Street and Rockaway Freeway.

The cleanup will include performing a shallow source excavation of visible tar to eight feet below the surface. Because of the groundwater table under the peninsula, that is the maximum that the can be excavated, according to MacNeal.

The dirt containing the tar will then be trucked to a secure landfill and new fill will be introduced to the site.

In addition, barriers will be put around the site to keep toxins from leeching to the bay and to other surrounding areas.

Eventually, a soil cover will be placed over the entire site.

Wells will also be dug in a number of areas within the site to collect tar and other materials that will naturally migrate to the wells. Those wells will be cleaned at intervals to remove the toxic material.

MacNeal said that the project would move ahead and that the construction of the remediation process would take about 2 to 2 ½ years.

“This is a large, complicated site,” MacNeal said. “In three and one-half to four years, the community should have the site back for development.”

After MacNeal made his presentation to the small crowd, Stephanie Selmer, from the New York State Department of Health, told the audience that there were no health problems associated with the cleanup process.

Jonathan Gaska, the District Manager for Community Board 14, asked that the fill come to the site by barge rather than by truck.

“We are talking about millions of tons of fill,” Gaska said. “Trucks moving through the community day and night would have a great impact on our quality of life.”

MacNeal agreed to bring the problem up during the final planning period.

Gas production began at the site in the 1880’s and continued until the mid-1950’s. The site was declared a Class II Toxic Site in the early 1990’s. A remedial investigation began in 1999 and was concluded in 2002.

Those wishing to comment on the PRAP may do so by writing or calling MacNeal at NYSDEC, Division of Environmental Remediation, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233 or at (518)-402-9564. Comments will be taken until September 22.

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