Site BackgroundThe Spring Creek Park Site is located on approximately 237 acres within the boundary of the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. The site occupies the area between Jamaica Bay and the western and southern boundaries of the Howard Beach neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York City, NY.
The site includes filled/reclaimed land composed of dredged material, waste fill materials, ash, and sludge deposited at various times between the early 1900s and 1960s as part of "land modification" projects and when the site was owned and operated by the City of New York as a waste disposal area. In the early 1970s, the land on which the site is located was transferred from New York City to the United States for inclusion within Gateway National Recreation Area, a new unit created within the National Park Service (NPS). Several investigations were conducted at the site by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) between 2002 and 2017 as part of planning for possible habitat restoration and coastal storm risk management projects. Chemical contaminants were identified in site soils including pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and various metals. In addition, radiological contamination was discovered by NPS during a limited gamma radiation walkover survey conducted at the site in December 2017.
CERCLA and NPS Authority
NPS is authorized under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to respond as the Lead Agency to a release or threatened release of harmful substances and/or a release of any pollutant or contaminant that may present an imminent and substantial danger to public health or welfare on or from land under the jurisdiction, custody or control of the NPS.
NPS Response Actions
Based on previous investigations conducted by NYSDEC and USACE, NPS initiated response action in 2017 under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (commonly known as the Superfund Act) with implementation of a CERCLA Engineering Evaluation Cost Analysis (EE/CA) that was approved by the NPS Associate Director of Park Planning, Facilities and Lands in December 2017. The purpose of the EE/CA is to further investigate the site, evaluate potential human health and ecological risks associated with exposure to contamination that may be present, identify pertinent cleanup requirements, and if necessary, identify cleanup actions for the site. NPS CERCLA actions are being coordinated with NYSDEC's coastal storm risk management project.
EE/CA Field Investigation
Field investigation activities took place in the summer of 2018. NPS contractors installed 29 groundwater monitoring wells across the site to evaluate whether contamination may be present in site groundwater. Subsurface soil samples were collected during the installation of the wells, as well as from nine additional site locations to assess whether contamination in site soils maybe be impacting groundwater contamination. Surface water from five on-site locations (e.g. wetland areas) was sampled. All samples were collected from within the Spring Creek Park boundary with the exception of five water samples from manholes located immediately adjacent to the site (along 78th or 83d Streets). These samples were collected so that the park could better understand the condition of surface water entering the site. All environmental samples were analyzed for both chemical and radiological compounds. Based on the results of the field investigation activities, evaluation of potential human health and ecological risks associated with exposure to hazardous substances that may be present, identification of pertinent cleanup requirements, and if necessary, identification of clean up actions for the site are underway.
Community Involvement is an important part of the NPS CERCLA process. Information repositories have been established in the two locations identified below and house copies of the Site Administrative Record File. CERCLA administrative record files consist of those documents that will form the basis for the selection of the site cleanup action. They include the planning documents associated with the EE/CA field investigation (e.g. the Sampling and Analysis plan, Quality Assurance Project Plan, etc). The repositories will be updated periodically. Development of the Site Community Involvement Plan is ongoing and will be added to the Site Administrative Record File once finalized.
Spring Creek Park Information Repositories
For More Information
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Last updated: March 26, 2019