EPA proposes $40 million cleanup of Ridgewood site
by Patrick Kearns
Aug 01, 2017 | 386 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a $39.4 million clean up of the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company Superfund site on Irving Avenue in Ridgewood.

According to the EPA, a study of the site revealed that several buildings, as well as soil and sewers, were contaminated with radioactive materials from past industrial activities.

While there is no immediate threat to nearby residents, the plan addresses potential long-term risks by relocating commercial businesses, demolishing contaminated buildings and cleaning/replacing contaminated sewers.

“This proposed plan moves us closer to a permanent fix that will protect those who live and work in the area over the long term,” said EPA acting regional administrator Catherine McCabe.

The site consists of six parcels of land and five buildings that house small businesses that will be permanently relocated. The EPA will assist tenants with relocation.

“While we recognize that relocation will be a stress on these businesses, we are weighing that against the long-term risks from radiation, which include an increased risk of cancer,” McCabe added. “EPA believes that this proposal offers the best course of action.”

Popular outdoor watering hole Nowadays, which is located directly north of the site, is still proceeding with plans to add an all-weather indoor space adjacent to its seasonal beer garden.

The EPA first began to assess the site in August of 2012.

At nearby IS 384, radon gas was observed originating from a hole in an unoccupied storage area of the basement. The EPA sealed the hole and subsequent tests at the school and a nearby daycare center have been negative.

The site’s long history of radioactivity goes back to the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company, which operated from approximately 1920 to 1954. The company processed monzonite sand and extracted rare earth metals.

Radioactive material from the process was disposed in the sewer and on the property until the company was ordered to stop the practice in 1947.

“I am pleased to see the agency moving forward with these aggressive steps to remediate this site,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. “Cleaning up this facility is important to the health and safety of local Ridgewood and Bushwick residents and business owners located nearby.”

Residents and business owners will have a chance to voice their opinion on the proposal at a public meeting on August 16 at the Audrey Johnson Day Care Center at 272 Moffat Street.
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