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State plans Glendale toxic site cleanup

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation has drawn up plans for the remediation of a contaminated Glendale site eight years after the agency found it to be hazardous, a DEC spokesman said.

The site, 76-01 77th Ave. in Glendale, formerly housed Kliegman Brothers Inc., a laundry and dry-cleaning supply distribution warehouse, from the 1950s through the 1990s. Arimax Realty LLC currently owns the property, where imported food distributor Gourmet Factory operates a facility.

The DEC said the Kliegman Brothers center formerly contained two 6,000-gallon, above-ground tanks that stored tetrachloroethene, or PCE, a dry-cleaning fluid that can cause liver and kidney damage as well as nausea, unconsciousness and death by suffocation. But the tanks were removed when its new owner took over the site, the DEC said.

Between October 2000 and August 2001, the state conducted studies at the site, detecting PCE vapors in 16 out of 17 homes near the former Kliegman Brothers property, the DEC said. The DEC's study also found that the groundwater, not used for drinking, and soil near the site had been contaminated and posed "a significant threat to human health."

The agency will now undertake a plan to clean the site through groundwater extraction, injecting chemicals into the soil to reduce contamination and monitoring local homes for vapor levels, a DEC spokesman said.

The groundwater extraction well will be constructed on 76th Street, while a groundwater treatment system will be built on Edsall Avenue, the DEC said.

The project will take an estimated six months to one year to put into action, but a spokesman for the agency said it was unclear when the remediation would begin. There is currently a soil vapor extraction system in place at the former Kliegman site, the spokesman said.

Testing found that Gourmet Factory workers were not in danger of being exposed to toxins, the spokesman said.

But Gary Giordano, Community Board 5's district manager, said members of the community were still uneasy about the site's contamination.

"Anything like this is always a concern," he said. "I had questioned whether the air quality there is safe to have a food operation, but the workers do not process or package the food. But it's certainly a possibility that the workers could breathe in air that is contaminated."

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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