Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Navy Yard

superfund VOCs "vapor intrusion" MGP "salt shed" CVOCs

City of New York - Corporate Counsel
Site Description[1] [2] 
This site is on the north-east portion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. Industrial Park (BNYDC) and is operated by the NYC Department of Sanitation. The site is bordered by the East River on the north and west, by Kent Avenue on the east, and by the rest of BNYDC site on the south. The site includes a barge basin, the Building 419 transformer substation, two former drum storage areas, a former boat shop area and a former coal gasification plant area. The site is currently used for the storage of salt and, to a lesser extent, vehicles. The surrounding area includes industrial, commercial and residential uses. From 1890s to 1940s, the northern part of the site was occupied by a coal gasification plant, identified as the Nassau Works. This plant generated tar-like wastes containing several semi-volatile organic compounds. The two drum storage areas and the transformer substation also have demonstrable levels of lead and PCB contamination. Several preliminary characterization studies have been performed, and some interim remedial actions have been undertaken (the later have been focused on the Building 419 area). The NYC Department of Sanitation has completed the field investigation on 9.5 acres of the site, while Keyspan Energy, Inc. is finalizing the investigation the 3.5 acre Coal Gasification portion of the site. Feasibility studies will be submitted for both projects in the next phase. Both investigations are being performed pursuant to a NYSDEC consent order.

Site Environmental Assessment
Groundwater contaminated with coal gasification wastes poses a threat to barge basins which have potential for use as a nursery for immature fish and shellfish. The site also contains levels of PCB and lead in soils that could cause a problem if eroded soils were to wash into the barge basin. Nature and Extent of Contamination: The main contaminant is MGP tar that has been found at depths exceeding 80 feet below grade and has migrated under the adjacent Wallabout Channel Barge Basin and under the main area of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This tar is the source of soil and groundwater contaminants which include VOCs and SVOCs. The soil contamination is evident to the depths and aerial extent of the tar contamination with contaminants that exceed the commerical use SCOs, e.g. Benzene was found at a maximum concentration of 1500 ppm and naphthalene was found at a maximum concentration of 7600 ppm. Shallow and Deep groundwater is contaminated with VOCs. The Shallow groundwater is only contaminated on-site due to the Wallabout Channel acting as a groundwater discharge. However, the deep groundwater is contaminated to the extent of the MGP tars with toluene found at 37ppb approximately 480 feet to the southwest of the site limit. At this time there is no evidence of sediment impacts to the Wallabout Channel Barge Basin or the adjacent basins of the Brooklyn Navy Yard as the contamination is too deep. Special Resources Impacted/Threatened: A Fish and Wildlife Resources Impact Analysis was performed and it was determined that no special resources were being threatened or impacted by site related contamination.

Site Health Assessment

Access to the site is generally restricted, therefore there exists the potential for human exposures through direct contact with contaminants in surface soil. However, based on current site usage, any exposure to contaminated soil would be expected to be infrequent and short in duration. Groundwater is contaminated with benzene, however exposures to groundwater contamination are unlikely as the area is served by public drinking water.

Contaminants of Concern
Type of Waste Quantity
Benzene (D018 Waste) unknown
  1. DEC Environmental Site Remediation Database.  Site Name: "Brooklyn Navy Yard 13 Acre Parcel".
  2. DEC Environmental Site Remediation Database.  Site Name: "K-Nassau Works MGP".

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