In December 2020 the city responded to our FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request for data collected from core samples taken in East River Park. There are more than 2,000 pages in the SANDRESM2 Supplemental Investigation Report 2019.08.29, and we are examining it. It’s vital to know what’s in the existing fill under East River Park that will be stirred up with ESCR construction, and we welcome anyone who can wade in. Here are details and links.
In Spring 2021, a chemical engineer helped us pull useful details out of the 2000 page Report. Primarily, these are the Key Recommendations and Charts of Findings.
These tests reached deep underground into the fill that created East River Park in the 1930’s, and found it full of chemicals – there’s also a former gas manufacturing site near 10th Street that’s pretty bad as well.
About the charts: this PDF has 6 pages of figures. Figures in Red are exceedances (over the toxic limit). Three pages for the soil tests are followed by three pages of water tests.
When you see the elevated levels of lead, arsenic and mercury on those figures, you can imagine the recommendations call for more testing, special management of materials removed, great care in letting people near construction areas, etc. “Marked truck routes” is an example of something we have yet to see as the contractor rushes to destroy the living park. What other recommendations are being followed?
You can review the 30 pages we extracted from the full report, with the figures at the end. The professionally researched Report’s Recommendations start on p 18 (it’s marked 32), also review the Conclusions just above. Now that work is underway, will this Report and recommended safeguards be prioritized?
We tested the soil in 2020, too, and lead was found near the Williamsburg Bridge (which had lead paint removal in mid-90’s).
We asked questions at the CAG meetings in 2021, which DDC has placed into this PDF along with their answers (and our additional questions on the right) Item #4.0 deals with the million tons of fill being brought into the park, and the required 775 tests to be made on this material before placement. Is there enough concern about the health and safety issues connected with the incoming fill, demolition, etc etc in the current ESCR plan?
With all this information in hand, why are piles and open pits left to blow in the wind?
Initial Soil Test results:
2019 tests in East River Park comprise the SANDRESM2 Supplemental Investigation Report 2019.08.29 – the Report. Completed after the ESCR plan was changed and the whole East River Park would be demolished, the testing was done on the soil and water under and around the park itself:
(The City’s taken it down, but the 2,000 page “Supplemental Investigation” can be viewed here (too large to preview, but you can see the 30 page extract and figures above)
DDC’s updated pages on ESCR’s environmental, presentations, etc. are at https://nyc.gov/escr – this resource includes an inquiry tool, in case you have questions.
REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN
Before the City removed this summary, it showed what hazardous materials were found in the study’s soil sampling, including which ones were found to be at higher levels than NYS regs. You can review the links at the top of this page for hazardous materials details, figures, etc.
For East Side Coastal Resiliency, Sept. 2019
link removed by NYC, see links above.
ERP bulkhead. The majority of ERP would be raised in elevation, with the import of an approximate 775,000 cubic yards of material, from the amphitheater to approximately East 13th Street, excluding the Fireboat House
775,000 cu yards in dry sand = 1,046,250 tons
Fill material: the material will be either virgin materials or DOT-specification recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) from Part 360 Registered Facilities with less than 10 percent fine material.
Cubic yards to tons calculator with different materials:
Pp 15 and 16 of the EIS, Chapter 6 for odor and dust monitoring.
What’s in the soil? B-2
The above subsurface investigations included the collection of soil and groundwater samples.
Eleven volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in soil samples, above their New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 375 Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs) for restricted residential use (RRSCOs) and/or protection of groundwater (PGSCOs). Eighteen semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and ten metals exceeded their respective RRSCOs and/or PGSCOs.
Contamination related to former manufactured gas plants (MGPs) was observed in soil and groundwater, including the presence of coal tar, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes (BTEX), and naphthalene. Some of the metals concentrations in soil, mainly lead, chromium, arsenic and/or mercury, may result in the need to manage soil excavated from these areas as a characteristic hazardous waste, pending waste characterization sampling.
The groundwater samples detected VOCs, SVOCs, and metals above their respective New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Class GA Ambient Water Quality Standards. Groundwater laboratory data (VOCs, SVOCs, and metals) are likely attributable to fill materials and MGP-related contamination.
Soil waste classification testing for export and disposal of the excavated material has not been conducted yet.
The potential adverse health effects from these detected contaminants are diverse. Many of these compounds are known or suspected to result in chronic illness from long-term exposures.
Environmental Site Remediation Database Search
Environmental Site Remediation Database Search Results
Site Name: CE – E. 11th St. MGP
Site Code: V00534
Program: Voluntary Cleanup Program
EPA ID Number:
DEC Region: 2
Address: East 11th – East 13th Sts.
Index of /data/DecDocs/V00534
From Kim Sillen:
FOIL report: ESCR Supplemental Subsurface Investigation Report
(Search done for “Contamin”)
p.6 2.1 The 2009 Remedial Investigation Report (RIR) for the former East 11th Street Works prepared by ARCADIS revealed that petroleum and coal tar contamination has affected the subsurface environment in the vicinity.
p.6 2.1 Based on the findings of the 2009 RIR and discussions with Con Edison and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), portions of the Site have MGP-related soil and groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the proposed floodwall and cutoff wall in the northern 1,100 feet of Project Area One at depths extending to 50 feet below ground surface (bgs) in some locations.
p.6 2.1 Based upon the 2010 RIR for the former East 21st Street Works by AECOM, Inc. and discussions with Con Edison, portions of the Site have MGP-related soil and groundwater contamination at depths as shallow as 5 to 10 feet below bgs and up to 50 to 75 feet bgs in some locations. Reports prepared by URS Corporation (URS) for the Solar One site (within Stuyvesant Cove Park) prepared for New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC), indicate that gasoline and No. 6 fuel oil contamination are currently being recovered from extraction wells monitored and maintained by URS.
p.8 3.1.1 Field observations and laboratory data for some areas in the Central Portion (between Houston and Delancey Streets) indicated petroleum-like contamination. However, based on the depth of the soil contamination, including naphthalene at 27 to 28 feet bgs in sample SB-40D, MGP contamination could not be ruled out.
p.8-9 3.1.1 All of these elevated metals detections were south of Delancey Street, and as such, were more likely attributable to the fill material than contamination from MGP and/or petroleum sources.
p. 9 3.1.1 However, based on the Remedial Investigation Report for the Former East 11th Street Works, deeper groundwater (depths starting at 10 to 20 feet bgs and likely extending to 30 or 40 feet bgs, and possibly deeper) contamination is likely present between East 14th Street and East 4th Walk containing elevated levels of VOCs and SVOCs associated with MGP wastes, which will require treatment during dewatering.
p. 9 3.2.1 Field observations included elevated PID readings, coal tar-like odors, and visible NAPL in 9 of the 15 deep borings from 9 feet bgs to the bottom of the borings at 40 feet bgs. PID readings were up to 990 parts per million (ppm). The deep soil sample laboratory analyses identified VOCs, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX), and the SVOC, naphthalene, in deep soil samples at concentrations above the RRSCOs and PGSCOs. These findings were indicative of MGP contamination.
p. 10 3.2.1 Based on the laboratory data, field screening, and reports provided by Con Edison, Sampling Grids 1, 3, 4, 6, and 9 (and an area north of Grid 1) likely contained MGP contamination at depths of approximately 7 to more than 40 feet bgs. Less severe contamination was noted in Sampling Grids 2 and 9 at approximately 15 to 30 feet bgs.
The area north of Grid 1, adjacent to the active gasoline station, likely had petroleum-related contamination at and above the groundwater table.
No elevated VOC or SVOC concentrations, exceeding the RRSCOs and for PGSCOs or other evidence of MGP contamination, were noted in the shallow soil samples. Elevated concentrations of metals (including arsenic, mercury, and chromium), exceeding the RRSCOs and/or PGSCOs, in soil were likely attributable to the fill materials rather than MGP or petroleum sources.
Deeper groundwater, consistent with the deep soil samples, appeared to be impacted by MGP contamination (and had levels of VOCs and naphthalene well above AWQSs) attributable to the former East 21st Street Works. Due to the limited scope of the groundwater assessment, it was not clear to what extent groundwater quality had been affected by the gas station near East 23rd Street.
p. 10 3.3 Subsurface Exploration identified elevated levels of lead and/or chromium in composite samples; and (3) to obtain additional groundwater quality data in the northern end of East River Park at depths where contamination from former MGPs was identified during the 2015 Subsurface Exploration.
p. 10 3.3 One discrete soil sample was collected for forensic hydrocarbon fingerprint analysis in Area A (boring A-SB-14) due to the presence of a creosote-like odor, suggesting possible coal tar contamination.
p. 11 3.3.1 Field observations and laboratory data (VOCs and naphthalene) indicated the likely presence of coal tar-related hydrocarbon contamination at depths ranging from approximately 10 to 30 feet bgs along the eastern portion of the proposed detention tank excavation area. Additionally, hydrocarbon contamination, potentially petroleum, was identified at depths ranging from approximately 5 to 15 feet bgs near the southwestern portion of the proposed excavation. Based on the field observations and laboratory analytical results, a spill was reported to NYSDEC and Spill No. 1605942 was assigned to the identified contamination and remains currently open.
The slight benzene PGSCO exceedance in the South Interceptor was detected in a soil sample collected below the observed groundwater table interface and is likely attributable to an unidentified source of groundwater contamination, as opposed to the former MGPs. The metals, lead and mercury, detected in soil samples are likely attributable to fill materials, rather than contamination from the former MGPs or petroleum sources.
p. 12 3.3.1 The concentrations of metals (including arsenic and mercury) and SVOCs in shallow soil samples are likely attributable to fill materials, rather than contamination from the former MGPs or petroleum sources. The concentrations of metals (including arsenic and mercury) and SVOCs in shallow soil samples are likely attributable to fill materials, rather than contamination from the former MGPs or petroleum sources.
Groundwater was consistent with the associated soil samples and/or field observations and appears to be impacted by coal tar-related contamination attributable to the former MGPs.
p. 13 4.1 Prior to the 2015 Subsurface Exploration program, copies of plans from Con Edison were obtained showing their utilities near the Site, and copies of relevant environmental reports were obtained pertaining to contamination from the former MGPs that may have affected subsurface conditions at the Site.
p. 15 4.3 The groundwater sampling logs are provided in Appendix D. Field duplicate samples will be collected at frequency of one field duplicate sample to every 20 samples for a total of one duplicate groundwater sample. The groundwater samples were field-screened for evidence of contamination (i.e., odor, sheen) and collected directly into laboratory-supplied containers and conducted in accordance with NYSDEC Draft DER-10 Technical Guidance for Site Investigation and Remediation, dated May 2010, and Sampling Guidelines and Protocols, dated March 1991
p. 16 4.4 Evidence of contamination, including elevated PID readings, NAPL, staining, sheens, and/or odors consistent with coal tar or MGP-related contamination was observed in 13 of the 17 soil boring locations at depths between approximately 15 and 56.5 feet bgs.
p. 17 4.4.2 Evidence of contamination, including elevated PID readings, staining, sheens, and/or odors consistent with coal tar and MGP-related contamination was observed in three of the nine soil boring locations, between approximately 9 and 45 feet bgs.
p. 18 4.4.3 Evidence of contamination was observed, including elevated PID readings, sheens, and/or odors consistent with coal tar and MGP-related contamination in both soil boring locations, at depths ranging between approximately 20 and 30 feet bgs. Soil borings associated with the proposed northern interceptor gate with field evidence of contamination are summarized in Table T3… No evidence of contamination was observed in either of the soil boring locations associated with the proposed southern interceptor gate.
p. 18 4.4.4A slight petroleum-like sheen and odor consistent with MGP-related contamination was noted in the purge groundwater from TW-CW-04.
p. 20 Table 5 Naphthalene, a common indicator of coal tar-related contamination, was found in sample SB-CW-03_36-38_20190710 at a concentration of 4,100 ppm.
p. 21 under Table 6: Given the large number of samples and the variability typically seen in metal concentrations in fill material, the majority of the findings are likely attributable to the fill conditions; however, samples collected from borings with suspected MGP contamination, contained high levels of several metals, including arsenic, lead, and mercury.
p. 21 5.1.2 Acetone was detected in five samples exceeding its PGSCO, but below its RRSCO. Acetone is a common laboratory contaminant and the detections are not likely indicative of on-site contamination.
p. 23 5.1.2 Naphthalene, a common indicator of coal tar-related contamination, was found in SB-FW-04_37-39_20190711 at a concentration of 1,900 ppm.
p. 24 Under Table 11 he SVOCs above their respective PGSCO and/or RRSCO were PAHs, a class of compounds associated with historic fill. Notwithstanding, field evidence of MGP-related contamination was observed at depth in this area, and low-levels of MGP-related VOCs (e.g. naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene) were detected.
p. 35 7.0 Conclusions Coal tar contamination was more prevalent along the proposed cutoff wall alignment (closer to the East River) as compared to the proposed floodwall alignment (further inland)… Groundwater laboratory data (VOCs, SVOCs, and metals) are likely attributable to fill materials and MGP-related contamination.
p. 36 Proposed floodwall Field observations and laboratory data (PAHs and specifically naphthalene) indicated the likely presence of coal tar-related hydrocarbon contamination. Field evidence of coal tar-related hydrocarbon contamination was identified at depths ranging from approximately 9 to 45 feet bgs along the proposed Floodwall. The PID readings associated with the identified coal tar-related hydrocarbon contamination, ranged from 18 to 255 ppm.
Field observations and laboratory data (PAHs) indicated the likely presence of coal tar-related hydrocarbon contamination. The coal tar-related hydrocarbon contamination was identified at depths ranging from approximately 20 to 30 feet bgs in both borings at the proposed northern interceptor gate. The PID readings associated with the identified coal tar-related hydrocarbon contamination, ranged from 4 to 7 ppm.
p. 32 Recommednations Excavation may reveal different or more significant soil and/or groundwater contamination in areas not tested as part of this investigation. If discovered, such contamination could require further investigation and/or remediation in accordance with the plans and applicable regulations.
*p. 39 9.0 ***For hazardous wastes, coal tar, and petroleum-contaminated soil (and other ‘clearly contaminated’ materials), the requirements are usually fairly well defined. It is in the situation where contamination is not readily apparent (e.g., so called “historic or urban fill” or “construction and demolition debris” or material that may have been formerly identified as “clean fill”) that present the greatest potential for problems and cost overruns. Even on sites where no contamination requiring remediation is identified, it is common that most of the excavated material is considered “contaminated” for purposes of waste disposal. Concentrations of the various contaminants in historic fill can be highly variable, and upon further testing, the material could contain higher contaminant concentrations than outlined in this investigation. Portions of this material could be classified as hazardous waste.