A Church Located On a State Designated Active, Hazardous, Toxic Waste Site

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 Site Record

Administrative Information

Site Name: Former Watermark Designs Facility
Site Code: C224139
Program: Brownfield Cleanup Program
Classification: A
EPA ID Number:


DEC Region: 2

Address: 491 Wortman Avenue
City:Brooklyn    Zip: 11208
Latitude: 40.6611
Longitude: -73.8758
Site Type:
Estimated Size: 0.44 Acres

Site Owner(s) and Operator(s)

Current Owner Name:J&H Holding Company, LLC
Current Owner(s) Address: 350 Dewitt Avenue
Brooklyn,NY, 11207

Current On-Site Operator: Crown Ministries International, Inc.

Stated Operator(s) Address: 491 Wortman Avenue
Brooklyn,NY 11208
Current On-Site Operator: J&H Holding Company, LC
Stated Operator(s) Address: 350 Dewitt Avenue
Brooklyn,NY 11207

Site Document Repository

Name: Brooklyn Public Library-New Lots Branch
Address: 665 New Lots Ave. at Barbery St.
Brooklyn,NY 11207

Site Description

Site Location: The Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) site is located at 491 Wortman Avenue in Brooklyn, Kings County and is approximately .44 acres.

It is bounded to the south by Wortman Avenue, to the east by Essex Street, to the west by Linwood Street, and to the north by a commercial and industrial property.

Site Features: There is a one story industrial brick and steel building which occupies the entire area of the property. No exposed soil or vegetation is present on the subject property.

Current Zoning/Use: The area surrounding the site is for industrial and commercial uses.

Since 2007, a portion of the site building has been used by a group for religious activities.

Historical Use(s):

US Tube & Foundry Company, Inc. operated at the site between 1945 and 1973. The National Hanger Company, Inc. operated at the site in 1976. J & H Holding Company, LLC has owned the property since 1983 and manufacturing activities continued until 2007.

The site was previously used to manufacture, store, package, and ship decorative fixtures and hardware for bathrooms and kitchens.

Processes involved cleaning, painting, plating, etching, polishing, and specific machining of metals and metal products.

A cleaning and degreasing area was located along the west side of the building.

The source of contamination is within the on-site building.

Site Geology and Hydrogeology:

The site is located over the Long Island aquifer system, which underlies all of Nassau, Suffolk, Kings(Brooklyn), and Queens Counties.

The unconsolidated aquifer formations form a southward-dipping wedge that attains a maximum thickness in Kings County about 800 feet in the southeast area of Brooklyn. Overlying bedrock is the Lloyd, Magothy, Jameco, and Upper Glacial aquifer systems.

The lithologic description of sediments from soil borings identifies the material as fill to approximately five feet below grade, underlain by layers of fine to medium silty sands and silt. Groundwater at the site is encountered at approximately 11 feet below grade.

Groundwater beneath the property is class GA denoting potential use as potable water. The property lies within New York City, which utilizes reservoirs from upstate New York as sources of potable water.

Contaminants of Concern (Including Materials Disposed)

Contaminant Name/Type
trichloroethene (TCE)
tetrachloroethene (PCE)

Site Environmental Assessment

Nature and Extent of Contamination: Based upon investigations conducted to date, the primary contaminants of concern include tetrachoroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE).

At off-site area, and based upon investigations conducted to date, the primary contaminants of concern for OU 1 include the chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) TCE and PCE in soil, groundwater and soil vapor.

Soil – In 2009, analytical results for on-site soil samples showed elevated concentrations of TCE in shallow soils collected from the western portion of the building.

In general, concentrations decreased with depth. TCE in shallow soils ranged from 0.610 ppm to 140 ppm. Highest concentration of PCE was 5 ppm. TCE exceeded the Part 375 restricted residential and protection of groundwater SCOs (21 ppm and 0.47 ppm, respectively).

Soil samples collected from the perimeter of the building did not show any exceedances of the SCOs for PCE and TCE.

In 2011, samples collected showed a maximum TCE concentration of 54 mg/kg and a PCE concentration of 0.48 mg/kg.

In 2013, mercury (1.6 mg/kg), lead (1,000 mg/kg) and chromium (220 mg/kg) exceeded the restricted residential SCOs.

Groundwater – In 2008, TCE was detected in groundwater at 24,000 ug/l and PCE at 544 ug/l. PCE and TCE concentrations in samples collected at 25, 35, and 45 ft bgs were significantly lower than in the groundwater interface samples.

In 2011, elevated concentrations of TCE and PCE were identified in shallow groundwater, primarily in the northwest corner of the building and the west side of the building. TCE concentrations in shallow groundwater ranged from 77 ug/l to 2,300 ug/l. TCE in deep groundwater was 120 ug/l. PCE concentrations in shallow groundwater ranged from 260 ug/l to 3,500 ug/l. PCE in deep groundwater was 310 ug/l.

For off-site locations from the building perimeter, TCE concentrations ranged from 400 ug/l to 880 ug/l. PCE concentrations from the perimeter ranged from 700 ug/l to 1,500 ug/l.

In 2013, the highest TCE concentration (8,700 ug/l) was at an on-site shallow well located just south of the truck scale pit.

The highest PCE concentration at this time (1,900 ug/l) was at a shallow well located on the sidewalk by the northwest corner of the building.

One off-site well located west of the building exceeded the groundwater standard for chromium (168 ug/l).

In 2014, additional off-site groundwater sampling was conducted at shallow, intermediate and deep intervals. TCE concentrations were highest in intermediate interval, ranging from 37 to 240 ug/l. PCE concentrations in intermediate level ranged from 11 to 33 ug/l.

High concentrations of PCE and TCE were seen in shallow groundwater at one off-site well, inconsistent with other wells at upgradient locations.

Also in 2014, a pilot test was conducted to collect site-specific data necessary to design a cost-effective, full-scale AS/SVE system.

The pilot test was performed in two areas with highest concentrations of TCE in soil and groundwater.

The results of the pilot test and pneumatic modeling indicated that soil, groundwater, and soil vapor (that is, TCE and PCE) present in the target areas could be effectively treated using air sparging/soil vapor extraction technology within a reasonable timeframe (two years). This technology was approved as an interim remedial measure (IRM).

Soil Vapor – In 2011 a soil vapor investigation was completed at the site, consisting of soil vapor, sub-slab, and indoor air sampling. Results were compared to New York State Department of Health Guidance for Evaluating Soil Vapor Intrusion (2006).

TCE concentrations in indoor air ranged from 140 to 250 ug/m3; PCE in indoor air ranged from 4.3 to 8.5 ug/m3. In sub-slab samples, TCE ranged from 190 ug/m3 to 2,300,000 ug/m3; PCE ranged from ND to 9,200 ug/m3. In soil vapor samples collected from the perimeter of the building, TCE ranged from 130 ug/m3 to 72,000 ug/m3; PCE ranged from ND to 32,000 ug/m3.

In 2013, additional soil vapor, sub-slab and indoor air samples were collected. Indoor air in area of truck scale pit was 2 ug/m3 for TCE and 13 mg/m3 for PCE.

Sub-slab concentrations is this same area were 26,500 ug/m3 for TCE and 568 ug/m3 for PCE. In 2013, off-site soil vapor concentrations, located southwest of the site, ranged from 57.5 ug/m3 to 170 ug/m3 for TCE; PCE at the same off-site locations ranged from 1,160 ug/m3 to 1,380 ug/m3.

Also in 2013, indoor air samples were collected twice in the office and congregation areas after installation of temporary filtration systems.

In the congregation areas, TCE ranged from 64.5 ug/m3 to 214 ug/m3; PCE ranged from 3.8 ug/m3 to 8.88 ug/m3. In the office area, TCE ranged from 83 ug/m3 to 138 ug/m3; PCE ranged from 6.98 ug/m3 to 10.3 ug/m3.

In 2014, additional off-site soil vapor sampling was completed in conjunction with the off-site groundwater sampling. TCE ranged from 12 to 2900 ug/m3; PCE ranged from 110 to 500 ug/m3.

The highest concentrations were seen at same location where TCE and PCE concentrations were very high in shallow groundwater.

The site presents a significant environmental threat due to the ongoing releases of contaminants from source areas into groundwater.

Site Health Assessment

Direct contact with contaminants in the soil is unlikely because the majority of the site is covered with buildings and pavement.

Contaminated groundwater at the site is not used for drinking or other purposes and the site is served by a public water supply that obtains water from a different source not affected by this contamination.

Volatile organic compounds in the groundwater may move into the soil vapor (air spaces within the soil), which in turn may move into overlying buildings and affect the indoor air quality.

This process, which is similar to the movement of radon gas from the subsurface into the indoor air of buildings, is referred to as soil vapor intrusion.

Soil vapor intrusion sampling in the on-site structure determined that exposure to site related contaminants at levels above NYS Department of Health guidelines is likely occurring since a portion of the structure is currently occupied.



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