A section of Ozone Park near a now-closed industrial site is slated to be cleaned nearly half a decade after discussions into the process to clear out toxic chemicals at the location.
The 12,000-square-foot state Superfund site located between 99th and 100th streets and 101st and 103rd avenues under and around an elevated segment of the old Rockaway Beach LIRR branch was used by aircraft manufacturer Ozone Industries as a place to store parts and supplies for decades after the railroad abandoned the viaduct in 1962. Ozone stored the parts in 28 bays under the railroad where the former Ozone Park LIRR station was once located.
Below the ground at the location, there is a contamination from trichloroethene, or TCE, that likely came from oils or solvents that washed off stored aircraft parts and other metals. TCE has been linked to cancer and disorders of the central nervous system.
Ozone Industries operated out of a sprawling factory across 100th Street until the late 1990s and the bays were used to store materials until 1998. It’s successor company, End Zone Industries, has been tasked with the cleanup of the site.
Community Board 9 District Manager Mary Ann Carey has been in discussions with End Zone about the site for five years. “This project goes back a long time,” she said.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation took soil and groundwater samples at the site in 2004 and 2005 and gas sampling and testing in seven of the bays in July 2005. They conducted further testing and samplings through 2011. End Zone was tasked with cleaning the site in 2008 and has been working to get final permits to do the work. The LIRR right of way is city-owned property.
A fence store was formerly located in the bays under the trestle and it is adjacent to two banks, a paving stone supplier, a plumbing company, Five Star Electric Corp’s 101st Street headquarters and some newer homes. A small public school, PS 65, is located a block away.
According to Carey, the company will remediate the TCE at the site in two ways. One way is to vent the TCE from the ground in the air. Though it sounds dangerous, the amount of TCE that will be vented in the air will be too small and controlled to pose any significant risk and officials and civic leaders have called for Community Air Monitoring Plan to be part of the final project.
“It would only have a minor affect in the air,” Carey said.
The other way End Zone will clear the site is excavating soil from the bays and trucking it off site to be cleaned.
End Zone is expected to give CB 9 its final plan to clear the site of TCE at the board’s April 9 meeting. They were expected to make the presentation on March 12, but a representative from the company said it had just secured final access permits from the city that day.
Once it begins, the entire remediation project is scheduled to take about a year to complete.