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ConEd probes Farrington

Con Edison is conducting an environmental investigation into the site of a former manufactured gas plant on Farrington Street in Flushing. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

Con Edison started the last phase of an environmental investigation at the former Farrington Street Gas Works in December.

The old manufactured gas facility occupies a 6-acre property in Flushing bounded by Farrington and Linden streets to the east, Downing Street to the west, 31st Road to the north and 32nd Drive to the south.

The investigation will run until the end of January and will analyze soil samples, groundwater and soil vapor to test for any contaminants left by the old gas plant, which was operated by New York & Queens Gas Co. until the 1940s.

Manufactured gas plants were used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to convert coal and oil into gas for heating and electricity. These facilities became obsolete once natural gas systems were developed.

The Farrington site is now occupied by a Con Ed storage facility, a truck facility and a Pathmark.

The first phase of the investigation looked at the area the storage facility occupies and took place between August and November 2011. The program’s second phase, which took place in February 2012, examined soil and groundwater near the Pathmark building.

The current phase will test soil around the Pathmark building. Con Ed already had established that these parcels have residual contaminants in a previous study, but does not yet know the level of contamination in each area.

Con Ed is conducting the investigation in partnership with the state Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health. Con Ed entered a voluntary cleanup agreement with the DEC in 2002 to investigate and, if necessary, clean up former gas plant sites.

An assessment and remedial measure was done on the portion of the site that the truck facility occupied in 2001 and 2003. The assessment found contaminated soil and piping from the old plant that was below grade and needed to be removed. The remedial measure for this portion included the installation of groundwater monitoring wells.

Con Ed said it is not likely the public would be exposed to any of the contaminants it is looking for as they are usually found underground.

The utility also assured the community extensive efforts to protect neighbors from potential hazards during the investigation will be used, including a real-time air monitor.

If the investigation finds remnants from the old plant, which could be hazardous to public health or the environment, DEC will determine the appropriate cleanup options. That plan would then be presented to the public for comment.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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