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Lawrence Aviation Industries Site

Environmental Cleanup and Building Demolition

Latest News:

DEC is holding a community availability session to provide information about upcoming site activities on Wednesday, Oct. 4, between 6 and 8 p.m. at the Port Jefferson Village Center. At the session, experts from DEC, DOH, DEC-contracted engineering and demolition firms, and the Suffolk County Landbank Corporation (SCLBC) will be available to discuss the project and answer questions in a one-on-one format. The session will include information about the planned demolition, cleanup activities, and future use of the LAI site. Participants may attend any time during the two-hour session, which will not include a format presentation.

Most Recent Fact Sheet

Lawrence Aviation Industries Site -- September 2023 Community Update (PDF, 731 KB)

We encourage you to sign-up for the Environmental Cleanup Email Newsletters (listserv) to continue receiving updates on these actions and future public information sessions.

Visit the DECinfo Locator online repository to view relevant site documents.

Site History

The Lawrence Aviation Industries (LAI) Superfund Site is located in a commercial section of Port Jefferson Station in the town of Brookhaven. It is a former industrial manufacturing facility with numerous derelict buildings that occupy an approximately 36-acre industrial portion of the 126-acre project site. The plant is no longer in operation.

The company produced titanium sheet metal for use in the aviation industry from 1959 until 2003. The waste generated from manufacturing included fluorides, sludges, caustic acids, and halogenated solvents. Wastes were dumped in several areas on-site including lagoons and cesspools.

Past Site Investigation and Remediation Activities

Past disposal practices resulted in a variety of contaminant releases including trichloroethene (TCE), tetrachloroethene (PCE), acid wastes, oils, sludge, metals, and other plant wastes. During the 1970's and 1980's, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) and the NYSDEC conducted several visits and investigations at the site and documented various potential environmental concerns. Surface samples from the LAI facility were found to contain high levels of fluoride, toluene, carbon tetrachloride, and heavy metals. Adjacent residential wells were found to be contaminated with fluoride, nitrates, TCE, 1,1-dichloroethylene, cis-1,2- dichloroethene (DCE), PCE, and heavy metals. In 1980 and 1981, SCDHS required LAI to remove numerous drums of waste materials from the site. LAI reportedly crushed more than 1,600 drums, allowing their liquid contents to spill onto unprotected soil.

In 1987, as part of a removal action, EPA provided bottled water to affected residences and subsequently connected those homes whose private wells were affected by contaminated groundwater to public water supplies. NYSDEC oversaw a major drum removal action in 1991. In the 1990s, the Suffolk County Water Authority connected additional homes affected by ground water contamination attributed to LAI to public water supplies. NYSDEC conducted a limited remedial investigation (RI) in 1997; the results from this limited RI revealed that ground water and surface water have been affected by elevated concentrations of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs).

Site map showing approximate site boundary.
Map showing approximate site boundary.

Based on previous investigations, NYSDEC requested that EPA place the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1999 and it was listed on March 6, 2000. In 2004, EPA removed more than 1,000 drums and containers from the site. In March 2005, a 13.5-ton shipment of transformers and capacitors filled with suspected polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) liquids was removed and disposed of as part of a removal action.

A remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) of site soils and groundwater was performed by EPA from August 2003 to May 2005. The RI included soil and ground water screening, surface water and sediment sampling, soil sampling, and groundwater monitoring well installation and sampling. The RI identified a groundwater contamination plume originating at the site and PCB-contaminated soil at the site.

Remedial actions to date have successfully achieved soil cleanup objectives for industrial use, and remediation of groundwater has been addressed by chemical injections, as well as the operation of two remediation systems since 2011. Remediation of groundwater has resulted in several orders of magnitude of reduction in concentrations of solvents in groundwater.

The site passed into the NYS Superfund program in late 2021. Residual contamination in the groundwater is addressed through active treatment both onsite and offsite maintaining groundwater plume control to provide protection to receptors. Following building demolition, additional source area investigation is planned to identify residual contamination and optimize treatment efforts and bring the site closer to closure.

Site Exposure Assessment

Access to the site is restricted by a fence. Contaminated surface soils were previously excavated and removed from the site as part of the Record of Decision, so people are not expected to contact any residual contaminants in soil unless they dig below the site cover material in the remediated areas. People are not drinking contaminated groundwater because the public water supply that serves the area is monitored routinely and treated to remove contaminants before the water is distributed to consumers. People may be exposed to contaminants in surface water through incidental ingestion if using the Old Mill Creek Pond adjacent to the groundwater pump and treat system; however, signs are posted that discourage people from using these waters. Volatile organic compounds in soil vapor (air spaces within the soil) may move into buildings and affect the indoor air quality. This process, which is similar to the movement of radon gas from the subsurface into the indoor air of buildings, is referred to as soil vapor intrusion. Due to the site being vacant, inhalation of site contaminants in indoor air due to soil vapor intrusion does not represent a concern for in its current condition. However, the potential exists for inhalation of site contaminants due to soil vapor intrusion for any future on-site development. Actions have been taken in off-site buildings to address the potential for inhalation of site contaminants in indoor air.

Pre-Construction Activities and Schedule

Groundwater and Environmental Services, Inc. (GES), a NYSDEC standby contractor, will subcontract demolition of the fifteen site buildings, razing the buildings to their concrete pads. NYSDEC expects work to commence after securing grants and permits in the summer of 2023, with completion by the end of the year. Presently, GES has issued a Request for Proposals to qualified demolition firm. Selection of the subcontractors is expected to take place in early June. Presently, GES and NYSDEC are producing work plans and health and safety plans, procuring subcontractors, establishing utilities and performing preliminary tasks to advance the project once the grants and permits are attained.

Following demolition, additional site investigation activities will be performed to optimize existing site remediation activities. NYSDEC anticipates that their contractor, HRP Associates, Inc. (HRP) will follow demolition activities to investigate and close subsurface structures and clean-up residual soil and groundwater contamination onsite. Actions will commence in late summer 2023 and proceed through spring 2024. The overall project is expected to be substantially complete (only minor restoration work remaining) by summer 2024. Remediation activities will continue for several years to come. The site cleanup activities will also result in improved site safety and security, allowing for a planned solar farm to be installed in the former footprint of the Site buildings.

Work hours are expected to be from 7:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. The total number of personnel on-site will vary based on the work being performed and may include representatives from NYSDEC, New York State Department of Health, Suffolk County Landbank, Suffolk County Health Department, GES, HRP, subcontractors, and vendors. HRP is the NYSDEC's engineering consultant and will be conducting full-time oversight of the remedial project. The number of on-site workers is expected to generally range from approximately five (5) to 25 individuals during remediation. Truck traffic will be limited to accommodate the existing Long Island Railroad schedule for the Sheep Pasture Road crossing area. NYSDEC's contractors will provide adequate traffic controls including flagmen and traffic control devices such as cones, signs, and barriers to ensure safe access to and from the project. NYSDEC is coordinating the work with individual property owners to minimize any disruptions to a property owner's routine activities. A detailed project schedule will be developed by GES and will be provided in a subsequent update.

Limiting Exposure and Impacts to the Surrounding Community

Every effort will be made to minimize dust, odor, and noise during construction activities:

  • Community Air Monitoring Plan - Air quality monitors will be used on the site perimeter to ensure dust is not migrating outside the work zone. No visible dust emissions from work zone will be permitted. The air monitoring action levels are conservative for triggering work shut down and corrective measures.
  • Engineering Controls During Materials Processing - Storm water management and erosion controls are required to prevent runoff from the Site. In addition, construction activities will be staged to manage building materials during demolition, material sorting, and removal for recycling from the Site.
  • Personal Protective Equipment - On-site workers are specially trained to work near contaminants and will have protective clothing and equipment available to them.
  • Pedestrian Corridor - The pedestrian corridor will be separated from the work by a chain-link gate system and the presence of a flag person. The adjacent Setauket Greenway Trail will remain open during demolition activities, but will be largely obscured from public view by privacy fencing.

Construction Truck Routes

Designated traffic routes for construction vehicles will be established and fenced prior to the cleanup and adhered to by the cleanup contractor and any subcontractors (e.g., tractor trailers, dump trucks, etc.). Construction vehicles may, at times, need to reach specific areas during the cleanup. Traffic during these events would be controlled through signage and road flaggers through coordination with Town of Brookhaven and the Hamlet of Port Jefferson Station, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Entrance and exit from the site will solely be conducted from Sheep Pasture Road.

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