2008 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 09:19:57 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Greenpoint, Brooklyn vapor intrustion
[I visited this area in November. I believe New York City has many such sites, with TCE and PCE plumes under neighborhoods. This one was discovered only because of sampling related to the Exxon spill. - LS]

A Problem Rises to the Surface in Greenpoint

New York Times
December 8, 2008

For decades, people in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, have lived with the possible health hazards from oil spills in their industrial waterfront. Up to 30 million gallons of petroleum - almost three times the amount dumped off the Alaskan coast by the Exxon Valdez in 1989 - made their way into Newtown Creek and surrounding neighborhoods from dozens of refineries over more than a century.

Now residents have a new anxiety: Toxic gases may be rising into their homes from below, the legacy of dry-cleaning plants, foundries and other manufacturers that once operated in this hub, which has long been home to immigrants and, more recently, artists and young professionals.

Such vapor intrusion - chemicals from contaminated soil and groundwater that become airborne, entering buildings through pores and cracks - has become a growing public health concern around the country in recent years. Contaminants that spread from industrial activity, or that were mistakenly believed to have been contained or eliminated in environmental cleanups, have been discovered wafting into basements. Since 2005, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been testing around the state to gauge the extent of the problem.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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