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Planning the cleanup of 175 Roger Ave. in Inwood

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Public comment is now being collected until Nov. 30 on the draft plan for the investigation into the cleanup of 175 Roger Ave. in Inwood, the former site of Rockaway Metal Products, where the building was demolished last year.

The draft investigation work plan, called a Supplemental Remedial Investigation Work Plan, was submitted to the New York State Department of Conversation under the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. Inwood 175, LLC and AJM Capital II, LLC, the applicants for the 4.85-acre site, will conduct the subsequent investigation with oversight by the DEC and the state Department of Health.

Rockaway Metal Products was a sheet metal fabrication factory that occupied the land from roughly 1971 to 1987. The company abandoned the property and reportedly disposed of and left hazardous waste material improperly stored at the site.

It was declared a federal Superfund site after hazardous materials such as arsenic, lead and cadmium were found there by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992. To address the hazardous condition, the EPA conducted an Emergency Removal Action in August 1993.

Nassau County took ownership of the site in 1995. The 155,000 square foot, one-story, building was damaged in a 2011 fire and was used a makeshift shelter by homeless people. The applicant, Cargo Ventures LLC, completed the remedial investigation phase of the program, after which they decided to opt out of the program. The site has remained dormant until the current applicant bought the property from Nassau County in 2017.

The investigation will define nature and extent of contamination in soil, surface water, groundwater and any other parts of the environment that may be affected. The work includes collecting soil, groundwater and soil vapor data to expand on the current site data and impact in the surrounding that was documented as part of previous investigations. Trace chlorinated and petroleum impacts; evaluate the potential for off-site movement of the containments; and assess the need for and, if needed design the remedial program.

“People in the past have dumped their trash at the location and I hope that doesn’t happen again in the future,” Inwood resident Barry DeGroot previously said.

After all the public comments are reviewed, the work plan could be revised and then approved. The DOH must agree with the plan. Following the completion of the investigation, a report is written and given to the DEC. The agency will review, amend if necessary and then approve the report. Then the cleanup plan call a Draft Remedial Work Plan is created. It will include an evaluation of the proposed site remedy or recommend a no action or no further action alternative.

The DEC will present the proposed cleanup plan to the public for its review and comment during a 45-day comment period. “The goal of the cleanup plan is to ensure the protection of public health and the environment,” officials said. The DEC will keep the public up-to-date throughout the investigation and cleanup of the site.

To comment access the SRIWP and other project documents online through the DECinfo locator at https://www.dec.ny.gov/data/DecDocs/C130164/. Documents also are available at left under Where to Find Information. Submit comments to the DEC project manager listed under Project-Related Questions in the Who to Contact area at left.