2008-10-17 / Letters

Second Toxic Meeting

Dear Editor,

On October 4, locals received a letter addressed to, "Resident," in which a date was set for our second meeting regarding the digging up and removal of toxic waste from part of the contaminated site on Beach Channel Drive between Beach 108 and Beach 112 Street. This relatively innocuous piece of mail could have far reaching health implications for us.

The author of the letter described the plan for toxic waste digging and removal as done by National Grid and the Department of Environmental Conservation. To wit, only a fraction of the site will be "sanitized." This is strange in that the entire site is contaminated and got that way from the leaching underground of the toxic chemicals. What then, is to prevent the non-sanitized portion of the land from re-affecting the sanitized portion? Wouldn't this put us back at square one again?

The letter also contained their plan for digging. To wit, a tent would be pitched around the digging site and moved to coincide with the location of the dig. Hazmat clad workers operating heavy machinery would shovel the contaminated waste onto open trucks containing liners. The load would be sprayed with a deodorizing gel, if necessary. The load would be covered with a tarp, inspected and sent up BCD to the Marine Parkway Bridge. There is no mention of sealing the contents of each truck that could shift on a bumpy road or be scattered across a roadway in the case of an accident. How many times have you driven behind an open truck laden with debris only to dodge the spillage flying off of the truck? Further, the main chemical that will be emitted into the air during the 14 months of digging is cyanide, a chemical so toxic that according to an article in the N.Y. Post, it is a major cause of type 2 Diabetes in children under the age of 16 and senior citizens. A tarp covering the toxic waste cannot deter the cyanide from getting into our airspace.

This meeting is the second meeting held by National Grid on this issue that is vital to all of our residents. This meeting is being held to address and correct the safety precautions that were not taken into consideration by National Grid and the DEC in the first meeting. However, according to the letter trumpeting the October 15 meeting, the only change that has been made is that the trucks will have liners. The 18-cubic-foot loads of contaminated soil leaving BCD at the rate of 6 truckloads per hour for 14 months will still not be sealed and the toxic chemicals, deodorized or not, will still be emitted into our air.

National Grid and the DEC must revise their clean-up plan to include sealed containers. National Grid and the DEC must answer as to why they think that cleaning up a portion of the site will not result in that cleaned portion being re-contaminated by the same toxic waste that migrated to the cleaned portion initially. If you are concerned about the health and safety of our community, you must make every effort to attend the meeting October 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the school formerly known as JHS 180.

JOAN METTLER

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