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EPA Proposes Cleanup Plan for Old Roosevelt Field Contaminated Groundwater Area Superfund Site


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a cleanup plan for the Old Roosevelt Field Contaminated Groundwater Area Superfund site in Garden City, New York. Under the proposed plan, EPA will treat the ground water, which is contaminated, and take steps to minimize the movement of contaminants to mitigate any potential future health and environmental impacts.

“It is a shame that Roosevelt Field, with its rich aviation history aiding America’s efforts in World Wars I and II must today address hazardous waste contamination from the past,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Today, the property is flourishing as an area of business, and EPA’s proposed cleanup plan sets out to ensure the safety of everyone who visits, works or lives near this area.”

EPA will hold a public meeting to explain and receive public comment on the proposed plan on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 7pm at the Garden City Village Hall located at 351 Stewart Avenue in Garden City, NY.

The Old Roosevelt Field site consists of ground water contaminated with volatile organic chemicals. It includes the land formerly utilized as an airfield, which currently consists of a thin strip of open space along the eastern side of Clinton Road, a large retail shopping mall with a number of restaurants, and a movie theater. Several office buildings are located on the perimeter of the mall. One of EPA’s main cleanup goals is to extract ground water contaminated by trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE), which has impacted two of Garden City’s drinking water supply wells, known as 10 and 11, that are located just east of Clinton Road. The plan proposed by EPA calls for the extraction of ground water to prevent the contaminated ground water from spreading further. Ground water with high concentrations of TCE and PCE would be pulled out through a well to limit the impact to Garden City’s supply wells and would be treated to remove contaminants. The treated water would then be discharged to a nearby recharge basin.

Supply wells 10 and 11 were installed by the Village of Garden City in 1952 and were put into service in 1953. TCE and PCE have been detected in both wells. A treatment system, which uses a process called air stripping, was installed in 1987 and modified in the late 1990s to remove contaminants from the drinking water supply. The water supply is routinely tested to ensure compliance with federal and state drinking water standards.

Chlorinated solvents such as TCE and PCE were used for aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, and repair operations since the 1930s. The Roosevelt Field site was used for aviation activities from 1911 to 1951. By 1932, Roosevelt Field was the country’s largest and busiest civil airfield consisting of paved runways and 50 buildings. The United States Navy and Army used Roosevelt Field during both World War I and World War II, after which the property reverted to a commercial airfield before closing in 1951.

A 30-day public comment period on the proposed plan began August 22, 2007. EPA will select a final remedy for the site after reviewing and considering all information submitted during the public comment period. Interested individuals can send comments to:

Caroline Kwan, Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway, 20th floor
New York, New York 10007-1866


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