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Contaminated Williamsburg Lot Housing Brooklyn Flea to Be Cleaned

By Serena Dai | September 15, 2015 5:26pm | Updated on September 16, 2015 8:50am
 The state Department of Environmental Conservation will be overseeing cleanup at the lot.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation will be overseeing cleanup at the lot.
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WILLIAMSBURG — Cleanup will soon begin for the vacant lot used for popular events like the Brooklyn Flea that's long been contaminated with coal tar.

The soil at 50 Kent Ave., a designated state Superfund site owned by the Parks Department, contains a "significant" level of coal tar left over from a manufacturing gas plant that operated there from 1850 until 1930, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The cleanup process involves excavating 25 feet of contaminated soil, installing coal tar recovery wells to collect any remaining tar and disposing of gas holder foundations.

National Grid will perform the cleanup, with monitoring by the DEC, according to a fact sheet.

The process will not begin until after summer activities on the lot end, said the Open Space Alliance, which manages the space.

The process will be done under a temporary tent to control odors and dust.

"The goal of the cleanup action is to achieve cleanup levels that protect public health and the environment," the DEC stated.

Once the cleanup is complete, 50 Kent Ave. — which is also home to outdoor films and live music like this past weekend's 90s Fest — will have a different look.

The concrete base will be gone, and the site will instead be "a clean grass-covered lot," the DEC said.

The agency did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how long the process would take.

The space is part of the larger park that the city pledged to create during a 2005 rezoning — a promise that has yet to be fulfilled.

Other parts of the contaminated area include the space where the former CitiStorage building stood before a massive fire earlier this year. Investigations are still ongoing to see the full environmental remediation needed at that space.

Cleanup for 50 Kent Ave. is part of the Parks Department's long-term redevelopment plan, according to the DEC.

Residents interested in hearing more about the cleanup process can attend a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bushwick Inlet Headquarters, located at Kent Ave. and North Ninth Street.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story named Smorgasburg as one of the events hosted at 50 Kent Ave. It takes actually takes place at the nearby East River State Park.