Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION IN SOUTHEAST QUEENS, NEW YORK CITY
The Jamaica Water Supply Company (JWSC) owned and operated wells that served over 500,000 residents in central and eastern Queens, New York City up until May 1996 when the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) assumed operation and ownership of the Queens service area of the Jamaica Water Supply Company. The groundwater supply system consisted of 68 supply wells in 44 well stations and several water storage tanks. The New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH) has monitored these wells for volatile organic compounds and three classes of non-volatile organic compounds; pesticides/herbicides, PCB’s and 17 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in compliance with federal requirements such as Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and also local requirements. The majority of these contaminations have resulted from anthropogenic activities. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is responsible for monitoring, improving and protecting the environment and public health. The NYSDEC Division of Environmental Remediation maintains regulatory programs for potential hazardous contamination sites. These include Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS), Chemical Bulk Storage (CBS), Major Oil Storage Facility (MOSF), Brownfield Opportunities Area Program (BOA) and several others. The DEC has been working on an ongoing problem of groundwater contamination from volatile organic compounds such as tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). Exposure to these dry cleaning agents can lead to adverse health effects. In Jamaica, Queens a company called West Side Cooperation served as the site for storage and distribution of PCE/TCE between 1969 to 1992 in the 4.5 acre site. Improper handling of the chemicals has led to severe contamination of soil and groundwater. In order to improve the tracking of plumes and other sites that may have the potential to cause contamination of soil and groundwater in the future, the NYSDEC is currently developing a map of open and closed spills in Kings and Queens County. In addition, there will be another layer, displaying active and inactive dry cleaners in the same area. The objective of this project is to help better monitor, predict and ultimately curtail plumes of contaminants to improve the quality of the environment and protect public health.