NYC Contractor Removes Hazardous Soil in Queens 5 Months After it Was Put Next to School Yard

May 7, 2018 Last Updated: May 7, 2018

Queens residents recently found out about piles of contaminated soil stored near PS/IS 128 in Middle Village that had been sitting there for at least five months.

CAC Industries stopped work on a $22 million sewer project at 74th Stree last November and didn’t notify the community as to why, the Queens Chronicle reports.

When New York City Councilman Robert Holden contacted the city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) to ask why the project had stopped, it said it had halted the project after finding lead in the soil, according to the Queens Tribune.

CAC initially took the contaminated soil to a dump, but it was rejected. That’s when it put the soil in their storage yard right next to PS/IS 128.

Last Saturday, it moved the soil to a dump in New Jersey, according to the Queens Chronicle.

Holden said he was told the soil had 300 to 600 parts per million (ppm) of lead. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 400 ppm is considered the upper limit of what is safe for children’s play areas, and 1200 ppm on average is considered safe for bare soil in the rest of the yard.

The amount of lead in the soil at the 74th Street sewer project varied.  The highest concentration in the soil, at six feet down, was 2,340 ppm.

The fencing around the storage yard was covered in plastic to keep the dirt from blowing out, but for five months, the mounds of soil remained uncovered and could potentially have blown over the fence.

According to Pix 11, the DDC is investigating how the soil was handled.