MGP Site Could Face Three-Month Delay
National Grid project officials announced this week during an update on the Rockaway Park MGP remediation project that there is a possibility of work being extended through December if the much needed Beach Channel Drive barrier wall cannot be installed as planned.
The barrier wall is meant to reach an installed depth of 120 feet. However, National Grid has experienced a setback near the 80-foot mark where compacted soil and mineral products are too hard to drill through in order to install the wall.
National Grid project engineer Tom Campbell said at this week’s meeting that an alternative method will be used in the upcoming weeks to loosen the soil, but if that does not work they will have to use soil concrete-mix for the wall, which would delay the project three months past its anticipated early September completion date.
The excavation of the site, located along Beach Channel Drive from Rockaway Freeway to Beach 108 Street, is near completion and currently on tent position 12 out of 15. To date, Campbell said, 135,000 tons of contaminated soil have been removed in 7,900 truck-loads. There is an estimated 28,000 more tons of soil that must be excavated, which Campbell thinks can be achieved with approximately 2,000 more truck-loads.
Discussion about the future of the site still remained mum, but National Grid representatives stated that the property will remain in their ownership and most likely be used under a land lease.
“We want a transparent process and to make sure everyone benefits,” one National Grid official said at the meeting.
The land use is also subject to approval by the Public Service Commission, to ensure that rate-payers benefit from the property.
One attendee to the public meeting was less concerned over the future of the site, but more concerned about holding National Grid financially liable for contamination beneath his property that is located across from the site.
Resident Ronald Joseph, whose home is across Rockaway Freeway, continued his one-man fight against National Grid and said publicly that he wants them to “admit it like a man” that they are wrong.
However, officials told him that the contaminants beneath his property are not characteristic of MGP sites. As a result the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has stated that it is impossible to hold them accountable for cleaning his property of the contaminants without sufficient evidence.
A ground well was installed on Joseph’s property but he refuses to let National Grid on his property to monitor the results unless they pay him, leading to skepticism among the other attendees of the meeting. However, District Manager Jonathan Gaska was still empathic to his cause and asked DEC official Doug MacNeal what could be done if there are indeed contaminants of some kind on his property.
MacNeal suggested that Joseph file a report with DEC by which they will go to his property and investigate the contaminants and attempt to link them to a cause and responsible party.
Joseph, however, refused again; this time again claiming that there is absolutely no way there is something other than MGP contaminants beneath his home.