Con Ed Investigating Farrington Site

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

The third phase of Con Edison’s remedial investigation at a Flushing site is underway.

The agency entered into a voluntary cleanup agreement with the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the State Dept. of Health to investigate and remediate potential impacts at former manufactured gas plant sites, such as the Farrington Street Gas Works. The latest phase of this investigation is taking place through January.

Con Edison is investigating potential impacts from former gas plant sites, such as Farrington Street Gas Works in Flushing. Photo by Ira Cohen

Con Edison is investigating potential impacts from former gas plant sites, such as Farrington Street Gas Works in Flushing. Photo by Ira Cohen

The agency is looking into sites that were at one point operated by Con Ed or its predecessor companies, before natural gas became widely available. These plants, which operated between the 1800s and mid-1900s, were used to convert coal and oil into gas for heating, lighting and cooking.

One example is the former New York & Queens Gas Company, which manufactured and stored gas at Farrington Street Gas Works. That company used to own properties on the blocks contained by Linden Place to the east, Downing Street to the west, 31st Road to the north and 32nd Drive to the south. The site is approximately 6.17 acres of land.

The areas the agency is looking into now contain a Pathmark grocery, pharmacy and various stores, a Con Ed storage facility and a Con Ed truck flush facility.

The third and current phase of this project includes the collection of soil and groundwater samples around the Pathmark building. When the testing is completed, a report will be issued with the findings and results of the investigation, along with Con Ed’s next steps.

During the remedial investigations, Con Ed said extensive efforts are being made to protect the community from potential hazards, such as real-time air monitoring.

While there may be residue and contaminants from the former manufactured gas plant, Con Ed said the public will not be exposed through direct contact, as the particles are beneath the surface. Residents will also not have to worry about drinking impacted groundwater, as the area is served by a municipal water system.

Con Ed’s first look at the site took place between 2001 and 2003 on the parcel of land with the truck flush facility. The interim remedial measure included the removal of impacted soil, the former gasholder, several former sub-grade structures and piping and two former underground storage tanks. Eight groundwater monitoring wells were installed to be monitored on a bi-annual basis.

A site characterization study confirmed residue from the manufactured gas plant operations was present in the sub-surface soils and groundwater by the Pathmark and storage facility. The current investigations are to assess the level of these contaminates.

Between August and November 2011, Con Ed conducted the first phase of a remedial investigation at the site, with most of the work taking place on its own property and the surrounding sidewalks.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.