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EPA to implement cleanup plan near Roosevelt Field Mall

Source:, March 5, 2018
By: Angelique D’Allessandro

The Environmental Protection Agency is implementing a cleanup plan to decontaminate groundwater in old Roosevelt Field, officials said.
The project is estimated to cost $13.5 million and was put into place after groundwater tested positive for potentially harmful chemicals, such as tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene. Both chemicals have been linked to cancer and other health issues, officials said.
“Once design work is completed, it will take up to two years to construct the groundwater extraction and treatment system, and then up to 35 years to achieve groundwater cleanup goals,” Elias Rodriguez, EPA public information officer, said.
The area is currently the site of the Roosevelt Field mall and other commercial buildings. A public meeting is scheduled Wednesday to discuss the plan.
The site of the contamination was a military airfield during the early 1900s and served as a commercial airport until 1951. According to officials, the chemicals detected in the groundwater had been used for airline maintenance and aircraft manufacturing, and could pose health risks to residents if ingested or inhaled, but that is unlikely because that groundwater is not part of the public water supply
After initially installing an “air stripping” treatment to remove harmful chemicals in 1987, the water was tested over time to track and monitor changes. Despite efforts at decontamination, the groundwater still tested positive for the harmful substances, EPA officials said, prompting a new cleanup plan.
The preferred method for cleanup proposed by the EPA includes extraction of groundwater and treatment of the contaminated water to remove chemicals. According to Rodriguez, this method “is a proven technology. We are currently using this technology to address groundwater contamination at another area of the site.”
Although Rodriguez says the cleanup requires “access to install extraction wells, construct a treatment plant, and discharge the treated water to a recharge basin,” he said this method would be the least disruptive to local residents and businesses.
After the initial implementation of the cleanup, groundwater will continue to be tested by the EPA.
The most recent water testing in this area took place in November 2017, and results have not yet been released. A public meeting to discuss this project will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Garden City Village Hall. Public comments on the cleanup plan can be sent to Sherrel Henry, EPA Remedial Project Manager, 290 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10007, through March 26.

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