2007-10-12 / Community

DEC:Risk Reduced At Rockaway Beach Dry Cleaners

By Nicholas Briano

The London French Dry Cleaners in the Dayton Plaza Shopping Center has received a clean bill of health from the DEC. The London French Dry Cleaners in the Dayton Plaza Shopping Center has received a clean bill of health from the DEC. The health risk to the public generated by longterm use of toxic cleaning fluids at a Rockaway Park dry cleaning establishment has been "greatly reduced" by the recent treatment of the contaminated soil, a report by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said this week.

In a Record of Decision released by the state agency, officials said that the extensive treatment plan for the hazardous waste chemicals found lying in the soil and groundwater beneath the concrete of London French Dry Cleaners, located in Dayton Plaza Shopping Center on Rockaway Beach Boulevard has greatly reduced the public's health risk. As a further preventive measure, a monitoring program will be implemented to ensure the cleanliness of the ground water for years to come.

The dry cleaning establishment, located at 8515 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, has been a dry cleaning establishment for nearly 21 years. Experts say that contamination issues are no strangers to the dry cleaning industry, which traditionally used toxic chemicals in the cleaning process.

Early investigations for the hazardous material, known as tetrachloroethene or PCE, go back as far as 1990, when the property owners conducted a private investigation into possible contamination.

In 2000 however, the property owner installed an air sparge, soil vapor extraction system (AS/SVE) to clean the soil and groundwater of PCE. Even though successful, the system was discontinued in 2002, when the property changed owners.

The DEC says they are not certain as to why the extraction system was discontinued by the new owner.

James Lee, the 15-year owner of London French Dry Cleaners, but not the property owner says he stopped using the hazardous chemicals over two years ago and the property owner signed a voluntary cleanup agreement in 2002 to help aid the Department of Environmental Conservation.

"I don't use the hazardous chemicals," Lee told The Wave. "I have been using organic cleaning materials and soaps that are less harmful."

The DEC decision also says that the AS/SVE system used back in 2000 is once again in full use and is working properly, with all new parts to dispose of the PCE in the soil and groundwater.

According to Lee, everything will be completely cleaned in another six months to a year.

"Inspectors come by about once a month and take ground and air samples."

"Everything looks good right now," Lee said. "Things are lot cleaner."

According to the decision, the property owners, under their voluntary agreement, must submit a periodic certification of the system's controls to ensure proper functioning.

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