By Carla Zanoni
INWOOD — Environmental test results for a contaminated site at the corner of Nagle Avenue and Broadway that's being eyed by a developer are expected to be presented to Community Board 12 next week.
The former gas station-turned-parking-lot at 4566 Broadway, which a developer wants to turn into a two-story commercial garage with underground parking, has a playground, six schools, a senior center, nursery and day care as well as multiple apartment buildings with a two block radius. Residents are concerned construction there will create health risks.
The lot operated as a gas station from 1966 until 2005 and has been deemed a "contaminated and abandoned" property by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.
A previous investigation of the site found gasoline and diesel petroleum compounds, tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene. The new test will attempt to identify and measure the level of contamination and assess the public health risk, as well as propose an adequate plan for remediation of the site.
Members of CB12 sent a letter voicing concerns about the brownfield to the DEC on Jan. 25, reported the Manhattan Times.
According to Isaiah Bing, assistant chair for CB12’s Health & Environment Committee, a plume of contamination from the soil and ground water on the property has migrated to several buildings near the site as well as the playground that abuts the property.
"Once these contaminants reach a certain level they break up and evaporate come through pavement and ground," he said. "Sometimes we never see it, but believe me they are there."
Bing added that he has concerns about the type of testing being planned, as it may not take into account the effects of even small amounts of contaminants on children and senior citizens.
"Readings are usually about what adults can handle, but kids, they are half the size and their bodies are still growing," he said.
The developer 4566 Broadway, LLC, began the process of investigating the site for contamination in late 2010 while creating a proposal for the cleanup necessary to allow development.
Once submitted, the DEC and the state Department of Health will review the plan before it is provided to area residents and business owners for 45 days of public comment through CB12.
"We’re hoping by next week to get a new plan and include community to make sure people in community have an understanding of what is going on," Bing said. "The next step will be to physically go out to site and see what we need to do to solve this problem, hopefully the readings are good."