The work to remove a toxic chemical from a former industrial storage site in Ozone Park is continuing, though the biggest part of the job is completed.
The project — to remove trichloroethylene, or TCE, a substance linked to some forms of cancer and problems of the central nervous system, from eight bays under the former Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road viaduct between 101st and 103rd avenues — began in June. The site was used by Ozone Industries from the 1970s through the 1990s to store aircraft parts.
According to Peter Guaraldi, a spokesman for End Zone, the “intrusive” work, including the soil excavation and off-site transport and disposal, drilling inside of bays, and outside air monitoring, was completed last week, within the estimated time frame set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
During the summer, End Zone’s contractors trucked the contaminated dirt from the site on trucks along the 99th Street side of the viaduct.
“The work was successfully completed with this arrangement in regards to traffic and neighbors,” Guaraldi said in an email. “The street was never closed completely, only occasionally temporarily blocked due to trucks turning in or out.”
The job is not completely done yet, however. Further work includes the installation of the ventilation system that will operate for several years and reconstruction of bays. Timing on that work is dependent on receiving the correct permits from the city, which owns the land under the trestle.
The project was controversial, with business owners near the site expressing concern about the extent of the contamination and the system that will vent some of the TCE in the air. End Zone representatives at a Community Board 9 meeting last spring said the amount of the chemical that will be vented into the air is not dangerous.