Ridgewood Site Could Be On Superfund List

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

A radioactive site in Ridgewood could make its way to a list that identifies the most hazardous sites in the United States.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week it would like to add the former Wolff-Alport chemical site to its Superfund list, an EPA program that funds clean-ups at hazardous waste sites.

The site was used by the federal government from 1920 until 1954, processing chemicals like monazite sand. The monazite contains a radioactive chemical called thorium, which the federal government used to make atomic bombs as part of the Manhattan Project.

Work has been ongoing at the site, located at 1514 Cooper Ave. and 1125 to 1139 Irving Avenue, since 2012. There are some businesses in the area, including a deli and a manufacturing shop.

The agency has been covering radiation found at site near the Queens-Brooklyn border with lead sheets to suppress the hazardous chemical. Although it does not pose an immediate threat to residents and workers in the area, long-term exposure to the radiation boosts the chances of getting cancer.

“The EPA has taken steps to protect workers and nearby residents from immediate exposure to radiation,” said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “By adding the site to the Superfund list, the EPA can continue its work to protect people living and working in the area from long-term exposure to radiation from this site.”

The Ridgewood site would be the third New York City-based site to be on the Superfund list, joining Newtown Creek, also in Queens and the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

The agency will make a decision on the site after a two-month comment period.

If you would like to submit a comment, log on to www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com or @luisgronda.