The announcement comes on the heels of a months-long planning process that began in December 2013. During this process, the EPA determined the former nuclear testing facility at one time operated by the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company to be New York’s most radioactive site.
Originally, the EPA began testing the area in 2009, and found contamination as far down into the soil as 20 feet, with the possibility of contamination to nearby sewage lines. When testing took them to the nearby campus of PS/IS 384, they found “radioactive gas” coming from a hole in an unoccupied storage area.
The hole was sealed with concrete, and according to an EPA press release, “Follow-up sampling results showed levels below the action level established by technical experts.”
Currently, the building houses three small businesses, including Terra Nova Restoration, an auto repair shop and a deli. The EPA began working with these businesses even before proposing it be added to the Superfund list, investing roughly $2 million into the installation of lead, concrete and steel shielding materials under floors and sidewalks in and around the building to reduce exposure.
“By placing the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company site on the Superfund list, the EPA can address the contamination to protect people’s health in the long-term,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Alpert.
New York is also home to two other Superfund sites, including the Gowanus Canal and nearby Newtown Creek. Specific plans for the Ridgewood Superfund site and the cost have yet to be announced.