Test surrounding areas of contaminated Gateway Great Kills Park

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Staten Island residents, visitors, and reader of this petition. As you may be aware, Great Kills Gateway Park has been closed in select locations for over a decade. This is due to findings of radioactive and other hazardous material within the soil of the park. The cleanup has been slow, with little public knowledge of site findings, and it's potential dangers to visitors of the park, and surrounding neighborhoods. This petition not only calls for a more transparent and faster clean up of the park, but more importantly calls for testing of surrounding areas outside of the park.    

Excerpts from "Draft Final Historical Site Assessment/Records Search Summary Report" released in 2017, will show further testing outside of the contaminated park site. (surrounding residential, commercial and school zoned neighborhoods ) is warranted. 

Link to the entire report can be found here https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/management/upload/2017-09-01-Draft-Final-HSA-RS.pdf

 

The following excerpts will highlight: 

  • Rain and flooding is potentially spreading radioactive and hazardous material to neighboring communities, groundwater, and areas used for swimming, boating and fishing. 
  • Specifically notes off site residents, especially residents within 200 feet of Gateway Great Kills Park to be "potential receptors" of any spreading contamination. 

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5.2.3 Potential Hazardous Substance Release 

". Precipitation (in excess of 40-inches per year -- average annual rainfall) infiltrating through the waste fill and former operations areas, and groundwater contacting and flowing through the waste fill, results in releases of radionuclides, metals, and organic compounds to groundwater."

5.3.1. Local Hydrologic Setting

"A suspected release of contaminants from the Site may occur as a result of contaminants migrating directly or indirectly into adjacent water bodies used for swimming, boating, and fishing. Ecological receptors may also be exposed to contaminants present at the Site, or contaminants that may leach directly
or indirectly into adjacent water bodies including the four on Site drainage channels, wetlands, and off Site surface water bodies (Lower New York Bay, Raritan Bay, and Great Kills Harbor)."

"Erosion within areas of the Site containing waste fill, incinerator residue, coal ash, and sewage sludge may result in suspected releases and migration of radionuclides and other hazardous substances within the waste fill to surface water and sediment in channels that discharge to the Great Kills Harbor, Lower New York Bay, and Raritan Bay"

5.4.1. Potential Receptors

"The area surrounding the Site is densely inhabited and characterized as urban
with zoned residential, commercial, and manufacturing districts with over 17,000 people living within 1,000 to 2,000 feet of the Site. No one lives within the Site. Potential receptors exposed to releases to soil may include Site workers, visitors (only if access controls were lifted without addressing the contamination), trespassers, and nearby residents living adjacent (within 200 feet) to the Site"

"Residents on the west side of Chesterton and north of the Oakwood Beach WPCP are adjacent to the Site. These areas have a high risk of flooding and surface water runoff containing surficial soil from Site may be transported and deposited on adjacent areas during flood stage, however such impacts may be limited because the Site surface is heavily vegetated with Phragmites limiting sheet-wash and transport off Site."

6.3. CONCLUSIONS REGARDING RELEASES, PATHWAYS, AND RECEPTORS

• Actual releases of metals, organic chemicals, and radionuclides to Site soil and
groundwater.
• Suspected releases of metals, organic chemicals, and radionuclides to Site surface water and sediments.

• There are potentially complete pathways for on Site human and ecological receptors due to the presence of Site-related contaminants in soil, groundwater, surface water, and
sediment.
• There is potential for off Site migration of releases via groundwater and surface water features presented within the Site boundary.
• There are potentially complete pathways for certain off Site human and ecological receptors due to the potential migration of Site-related contamination in groundwater and within Site surface water features.

Based on the characterization of the exposure setting and existing land use, the potential human receptors considered as part of the CSM include:
• NPS and City employees (park rangers, police, fire fighters, construction workers, and maintenance workers);
• Trespasser;
• Park recreation user - There is no current exposure due to Site access controls, however, the CSM assumes a recreation user and complete exposure pathway for the purposes of HSA/RS;
• Construction worker (A worker not employed by NPS or City); and
Off Site resident.

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Further things to consider:

  • The East Shore Seawall was delayed with studying and cleanup of contamination, at the site where the seawall will be constructed. The seawall site is far removed from reported and mapped contamination hotspots. If possible contamination spread lead to this delay, testing in other nearby locations must also be done.

"Radiation sickness: Will Great Kills Park probe stymie seawall? " ( Tom Wrobleski - Staten Island Advance 2019)

https://www.silive.com/opinion/columns/2016/04/radiation_sickness_great_kills.html

 

  • Staten Island has the highest cancer rates in NYC. Is there any correlation to contaminated soil in Great Kills Park, and the possibility of it spreading to other neighborhoods. 

"Cancer rates on Staten Island highest of any borough, data shows" (Erik Bascome Staten Island Advance 2017/2019)

https://www.silive.com/news/2017/10/cancer_rates_on_staten_island_1.html

 

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Further testing, outside of the testing done within Great Kills Park is needed, and warranted. The undersigned to this petition attest to this.