The State Department of Environmental Conservation has presented three possible courses of action for cleanup of a former Elmont welding site, at 546 Hempstead Turnpike.
The DEC held a public meeting on Feb. 11 at the Elmont Library to discuss plans to clean up the fenced-in, .35-acre parcel, which has been vacant since 2007. The site, which was first used as an automobile garage in 1925 and later as a welding shop and parking lot, contains contaminated soil and would be cleaned up under the DEC’s Environmental Restoration Program. The program would reimburse the cost of remediation to the Town of Hempstead, which owns the site. Following a cleanup, the site would be suitable for public, industrial, commercial or residential use.
The DEC said that, because of contaminants in the soil, the property is hazardous to anyone “walking on the site, digging or otherwise disturbing the soil.”
The three options presented by the DEC include taking no action at all, excavating and disposing of contaminants off-site, and restoring the site to its pre-disposal condition. Taking no action would cost taxpayers nothing, but the site would be left as is. Digging up and disposing of the contaminants elsewhere would cost nearly $300,000, and restoring the site would cost approximately $900,000.
The DEC said that the second proposal is the best alternative, because it would protect the environment and human health, and would be more cost- and time-efficient than a thorough restoration. One major benefit of excavating the contaminants and carting them away, according to the department, is that it would include the removal of shallow contaminated soils and the application of a clean fill over any remaining subsurface contamination. A complete restoration of the site, in contrast, would require deeper excavation of the soil.