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Old Posted Oct 16, 2008, 11:34 PM
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Brooklyn Daily Eagle

October 16, 2008

Work on Contaminated Coney Site Set for Completion in ’09

Former Gas Manufacturing, Storage Facility Took Years To Clean Up

CONEY ISLAND – Work on the 17-acre former Brooklyn Borough Gas Works, a site with buried industrial wastes and a long history as a manufactured gas plant and gas storage facility, is scheduled to be finished next year after many years of cooperation between government agencies, NationalGrid and its predecessor utilities, and community residents.

The Brooklyn Borough Gas Works, near the highly polluted Coney Island Creek operated between about 1918 through the mid-1950s, when natural gas pipelines were brought into the area and the need to manufacture gas ended. Brooklyn Borough Gas, a local company in southern Brooklyn known for its pioneering employment of female executives, was bought by Brooklyn Union Gas, a predecessor to National Grid, in 1959.

At that time, Brooklyn Union began the demolition of the remaining structures on the site, which included both manufacturing operations and gas-storage tanks. In the early 1980s, with passage of Federal “Superfund” legislation, former gas-manufacturing sites were examined to determine their priority for environmental remediation, but the Brooklyn Borough Gas site was not considered dangerous enough for the federal government to pursue.

Beginning in 1984, Brooklyn Union Gas began commissioning various studies of environmental media at the site (soil, water, seepage, etc.) to determine the level of environmental risk and whether remedial action was required.

In 1995, Brooklyn Union entered into an Order on Consent with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to undertake a remedial investigation of the site. The investigation was completed in 1997. The first major Interim Remedial Measure was the removal of approximately 250 tons of soil containing non-hazardous levels of lead and nearly 1,600 tons of soil containing hazardous concentrations of lead.
Brooklyn Union, which had become KeySpan, continued to work with the state to develop plans to clean up the site. The Remedial Plans included excavation and removal of the top three feet of contaminated sediments along the creek; removal of toxic materials along the banks of the creek; creation of a 50-foot-wide buffer between the creek and the gas-plant site; excavating soil from areas known to contain coal tar in an upland area of the site; and more.

Nearly all of these activities have been completed, according to National Grid. Construction of an on-site treatment plant to treat the liquids collected from the recovery trench, prior to discharge to Coney Island Creek, will be completed early in 2009.
“At the time this project began, a corporate goal was also communicated to our neighbors – to remediate this site to a point where it could be returned to valuable use in the community,” according to a National Grid spokesperson. “While no decisions about eventual re-use have been made, National Grid continues to discuss re-use issues with the Public Service Commission, Community Board 13, the Borough President’s office and the City of New York. As is our policy, we will keep the community informed as these discussions move forward.”

© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2008
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