2008-08-08 / Letters

Toxic Waste In Rockaway

Will National Grid Help Keep Our Community Clean? Dear Editor,

We have all read that National Grid is finally cleaning up its toxic waste site (Beach Channel Drive to the freeway from B.108 to B.112) and we have rejoiced. Not so fast.

National Grid is not cleaning up their entire site which means the dirty site remains will probably migrate to the cleaned sites making this a sham. Furthermore, they are digging in an enclosed environment, a bubble (like the Brooklyn Racquet Club), in an air controlled environment where laborers are wearing Haz-mat suits, then loading the toxic waste on trucks, spraying the top of the load with deodorizing gel, then covering each truck with a plastic tarp for the ride up Beach Channel Drive to the Marine Parkway Bridge, up Flatbush Avenue to Caton, across Ft. Hamilton Pkwy to the Verrazano Bridge to sanitation facilities.

Let us not minimize the fact that these loads (18 cubic yards, 6 per hour, 6 hours per day for 14 months) will not be sealed to protect the communities through which they pass, they will be trapped. Notice, if you will the pristine conditions under which the toxic waste will be dug, most assuredly protecting those involved in the digging from passing out(as they did during the digging for the tanks at the Mobil station across the street.) then, sending the cyanide et. Al. through our community unsealed like you would debris from a home renovation covered with a tarp. When questioned about the safety of the breathing of our residents during the year plus project, Douglas McNeal of the DEC told those present at last week's meeting, "We've done this before."

Who among us does not believe that as the massive loads that are being transported along Beach Channel Drive, the bumps in the road will cause the loads to shift and fine contaminated soil to be bounced into our neighborhood? Probably the same people who had to be forced to have this meeting to inform residents of this disastrous plan and who complied by holding the meeting at 6:00pm when our working residents are still commuting and our wives and mothers are preparing dinner.

The truth is National Grid did not want to have the meeting because they knew it would create more problems for them then solutions. Now that we know what their plan is, it is every resident's duty, especially those who have family members most likely to be effected by airborne toxic waste, that is the elderly and youngsters up until age of 15, to lodge their protest with National Grid and politicians who are supposed to represent us and refuse to allow the project to go ahead (beginning date is either August or September.)

Let it be known through your emails, phone calls, and letters (beginning with Audrey Pfeiffer's Office) that the only way toxic waste can be removed from our community is in sealed containers, not in open trucks covered with plastic tarp, that all trucks must be sanitized upon leaving Far Rockaway site and again, upon leaving their destination points. Call National Grid to clean the entire site, not just the sites which they deem convertible for commercial development.

All too often, this community shrinks away from the responsibilities that clearly could have serious ramifications for all of our residents. Every one of us must make the effort to reject, in the strongest terms, National Grid's Local Toxic Waste Removal Project until all such waste removed from our neighborhood is done so in sealed pod-like containers for the health and safety of us all.

JOAN METTLER

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