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For Release: Thursday, August 16, 2012

DEC Will Require Additional Sampling at Manhattan Superfund Site in Response to Requests from Neighbors

Soil Vapor Intrusion Evaluation Expanded on Properties Near 2350 Fifth Avenue

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will require the property owner and Responsible Party (RP) at 2350 Fifth Avenue to conduct expanded soil vapor and indoor air sampling in and around a former dry cleaner in Manhattan, the agency announced today. Going forward DEC will also require notice of test results to all on-site building occupants.

DEC is requiring the sampling at the request of building occupants and neighboring residents. The site is located at 2340-2350 Fifth Avenue, and is listed on the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites as a Class 2 site. To complete the planned work, DEC will coordinate with the RP to obtain necessary access to the properties where sampling is proposed. DEC will hold a public meeting in the fall after the test results are known.

The majority of the work will be completed by the RP, with DEC taking some samples for confirmation purposes. DEC anticipates the work will be implemented during the 2012 heating season which begins in late October. Soil vapor intrusion samples are collected during the heating season when windows are closed and the building's heating system may be pulling stronger vacuum on the building slab, resulting in higher vapor intrusion rates. The samples to be collected include:

  • Savoy Park Apartments - a full suite of soil vapor intrusion samples will be collected from two residential buildings on the Savoy Park property. This sampling was previously planned.
  • Riverbend Apartments - supplemental soil vapor samples will be collected from at least four locations on and near this residential property. This sampling is being undertaken as a result of residents' concerns.
  • 2340-2350 Fifth Avenue - DEC will take side-by-side independent samples with the RP's consultant during the next quarterly indoor air sampling event. This sampling is being undertaken as a result of on-site occupants' concerns.

"These additional sampling efforts will allow DEC and state Department of Health to complete their evaluation of the site's impacts and are responsive to the community's concerns that the remedy selected for the site will provide adequate protection for on-site occupants and off-site residents," said Regional Director Venetia Lannon.

Senator Bill Perkins said, "We're glad that Commissioner Martens has been responsive regarding notification, accountability and transparency at Superfund sites. DEC is moving in the right direction by implementing these fixes. We will discuss this site and other legislative proposals at the forum on Friday, August 17th."

In May 2012 DEC learned that the on-site occupants had not been previously notified of the Class 2 designation for the site. DEC held an information session with tenants and occupants in July 2012, during which many tenants expressed concerns about indoor air quality in the on-site building. Residents of the adjacent residential buildings have expressed similar concerns. DEC will work to ensure that all occupants are notified going forward to ensure renters have more complete information when making decisions about where to lease space.

Indoor air samples in the on-site building have been collected and analyzed on a quarterly basis since 2009 when the current tenants began occupancy. Those results are reviewed by DOH, which concluded that conditions on the site are appropriate for its current commercial uses. Soil vapor samples collected in 2009 and 2011 on or near the off-site residential properties also have been reviewed by DEC and DOH. DOH concluded that 2009 and 2011 results warranted soil vapor intrusion sampling at the Savoy Park apartments, which will be done in conjunction with the additional sampling that DEC is requiring at the Riverbend property.

The additional proposed sampling at the Riverbend property is being undertaken by DEC as a result of concerns expressed by residents. Furthermore, the independent indoor air samples proposed for the on-site building are intended to assure tenants that the on-site building remains appropriate for commercial occupancy. DEC will hold a public meeting following the receipt of the sampling results in the fall to explain those results to the on-site occupants and off-site residents.

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