The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sent an update to residents in the Vinegar Hill area announcing that the “site characterization of a former manufactured gas holder station”, located on Front Street will begin in the fall of 2010.
According to the mailer (PDF alert 1.3mb), the former holder station is located on Front Street in the block bounded by Front, York, Bridge and Gold Streets (map above):
“The Site was operated as a gas storage and distribution facility from the late 1800s to the 1930s. No gas was manufactured at the Site. Gas was manufactured at other facilities in Brooklyn and delivered to the Front Street Holder Station through a network of underground pipes. The gas was provided to homes, businesses and industries and used in much the same way natural gas is used today.”
The principal contamination targeted by the site characterization is coal tar, which is the primary by-product associated with manufactured gas sites. Coal tar is a brownish to black liquid with an odor similar to driveway sealer. It contains a variety of environmental contaminants including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX).
In 2007, National Grid (then KeySpan) entered into a consent order with the NYSDEC that requires Natioanl Grid to investigate, and where necessary, remediate former gas manufacturing and storage sites. The former Front St. site is one of the storage sites that are included in the consent order.
In the fall of 2010, National Grid will begin a site characterization to determine whether any contamination related to the former gas storage operation exists in the soil or groundwater beneath the Site. Site characterization activities will include drilling of soil borings, installation of groundwater monitoring wells, and collection of soil and water samples for chemical analysis. All work will be done under the oversight of NYSDEC and the NYSDOH.
Additional information on manufactured gas is found at dec.ny.gov/chemical/8430.html.