Superfund365 Launches! Around NYC

It has been a busy first week (OK, week and a half) with the launch of the site and the start of our Superfund365 journey on Saturday, September 1, 2007. Fixing bugs and getting our system down has taken most of my time and attention. So apologies for a late start with this email blast, but here it is. This is an ongoing experiment and happy to have you along for the ride!

Observations from Week One:

Most of the sites we saw this week were not marked, not fenced off and really pretty darn easy to miss. The very first site, Quanta Resources, we drove past probably three or four times before we brought out the GPS and pin-pointed it the new-fashioned way. This site has a big, old sign out front proclaiming 61,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants coming soon! There is no indication of any construction though or even cleanup; just one lonely back hoe that looks like it has not moved in ages. The skyline of Manhattan rises behind the vacant lot, making for a dramatic photo op. This Hudson River front property must be pretty pricey. My friends who like to bike tell me that they ride across the George Washington Bridge from New York City to the waterfront paths here in New Jersey. They were surprised to see this spot top on the list.

Another site this week, Computer Circuits also had a sign in front, this time a for sale (or rent?) sign for the one-story office building on the lot. There was no way to tell exactly which part of the property is contaminated. The EPA description states that waste liquids from circuit board manufacturing collected in five cesspools southeast of the building which could have been a fenced off portion behind the building with some parked trucks. It was hard to tell. The street leading to Computer Circuits is tree-lined and plastics, aeroindustry and metal manufactures abound, which is why the area is called the Hauppauge Industrial Corridor.

The Roosevelt Field site is nearby and the most populated place we visited. It is now entirely occupied by a rather massive shopping mall. There is zero indication that this used to be an army (and then commercial) airfield, except the name still lingers (The Roosevelt Field Mall). The EPA does not disclose a source for the well water contamination, although it makes sense that the organic compound chemicals found in the water were once used to preserve aircraft engines and repel dust, rust, and moisture. The first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic by Charles Lindbergh originated at Roosevelt Field in 1927. (He landed in Paris.) In the 1930s, Roosevelt Field was the country's largest and busiest civil airfield and today it is New York State's largest shopping mall (on top of a Superfund site).

The only site this week that was clearly labeled as Superfund was the Jackson Steel site. Maybe because it sits in a highly residential neighborhood and next to a very busy street (OK, your guess is as good as mine here) but for some reason this site has a huge metal sign attached to the onsite building clearly labeling it as Superfund.

We could not enter Brookhaven National Laboratory. It is a government lab run by the Department of Energy that specializes in nuclear physics. Too bad we were not there on a Summer Sunday when the facility opens to the public for summer tours and special programs. On the tour supposedly a BNL scientist will show you what you get when you smash two beams of gold particles moving at 99.9% of the speed of light! They use a Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider which is three stories tall. After being turned away by the security guard, we decided to check out the Brookhaven Country Fair across the street. There we got to pet a llama, eat sweet summer corn and watch Civil War reenactments.

Well, now I must get back to other matters of the day. Stay tuned for the Week Two recap which is currently unfolding.

Brooke Singer / Superfund365
Email Recap Index:

Superfund365 Launches! Around NYC

Bacteria Eating Bugs and Radium Jaw in New Jersey

The 4th Anniversary Report

More, More, More New Jersey

Jimmy Hoffa's Grave, Sledding on E-Waste and a Lamb Named Snowball

A Town Built on "Clean Fill," The Winning Raybestos Brakettes and Their Losing Field and Why Still No Ban on Asbestos?

Senate Subcommittee Superfund Hearing

A Scientific Study Brings out the Skeptics and, Please, Do Overwhelm Us with the Data!

Copper Mining in Vermont -- It's Not All Maple Syrup and Fall Foliage

Syracuse Green or Gross? University Students Take A Closer Look

Supersized: The Longest Superfund Site (the Hudson River) Thanks to One of The Largest Companies in the World (General Electric)