It’s official: Meeker Plume put on the National Priorities List for cleanup

Key leaders in the environmental justice movement joined to celebrate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will bring $3.5B to help cleanup polluted Superfund sites.  This gathering took place on February 25, 2022 — two weeks before the Meeker Plume received Superfund designation. Pictured (l to r): NYC Council Member Lincoln Restler, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, US Representative Carolyn Maloney, US Senator Chuck Schumer, District Leader Kristina Naplatarski, and NYS Assembly Member Emily Gallagher Photo Credit: Jose Leon

On March 16, 2022 the Meeker Avenue Plume was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) for cleanup by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in other words: it is now a Superfund site.  The Meeker Avenue Plume site consists of contaminated soil and groundwater containing chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) that include: tetrachloroethylene (PCE)trichloroethylene (TCE)cis-1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE), and vinyl chloride. The EPA published a notice last September that it was proposing to add this site to the NPL and the public were allowed to offer comments through November 8, 2021.

Meeker Plume area

The area of the Meeker Plume site is contained by Morgan Avenue, Kingsland Avenue, and Monitor Street on the west; Norman Avenue, Bridgewater Street, and Meeker Avenue to the north; Vandervoort Avenue, Porter Avenue, and the Newtown Creek on the east; and Lombardy Street, Withers Street, and Division Place to the south.

The EPA’s next step will be to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and extent of contamination, assess potential threats to human health and the environment, and evaluate various cleanup options based on the information collected. “EPA will continue working closely with our state and local partners throughout the process, including community outreach and involvement activities to ensure the whole community and stakeholders are informed of our work and future cleanup plans,” states the EPA’s press release.

“No community deserves to have contaminated sites near where they live, work, play, and go to school. Nearly two out of three of the sites being proposed or added to the priorities list are in overburdened or underserved communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is building a better America by taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect communities’ health, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.”

US Senator Chuck Schumer commented, “After decades of irresponsible dumping, the addition of the Meeker Avenue Plume to the EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) marks a huge first step in ensuring the cleanup of this site. This listing will put the full weight of the EPA towards restoring the site and the safety of the Greenpoint and East Williamsburg communities.”

“Having the Meeker Avenue Plume added to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites will enable the EPA to truly address legacy pollution and make federal cleanup funding available to protect New Yorkers,” said US Representative Carolyn Maloney. “The plumes at this site are the result of historic hazardous waste dumping and irresponsible manufacturing practices, creating a substantial threat to my constituents and their health. I’m grateful that New York can now get the help and support it needs to address these dangerous environmental effects once and for all.”

US Representative Nydia Velázquez acknowledged the superfund designation as, “progress in bringing environmental justice to our communities.” She added, “Listing the Meeker Avenue Plume is a great step in following through on the Superfund principle that the polluter pays right here in North Brooklyn. This area has underground contamination of oil and a number of harmful, toxic chemicals, and the Superfund program is our strongest tool for cleaning up such hazardous sites. I strongly urged that the Meeker Avenue Plume be included as a Superfund cleanup site over a decade ago when I was working with the community to designate Newtown Creek. Working families have a right to live in a place that supports good public health.”

NYC Council Member Lincoln Restler stated, “Big win! EPA is adding Meeker Ave Plumes as federal Superfund Site! Neighbors in Greenpoint and Williamsburg have been dealing with hazardous vapor intrusion for decades due to dumping and industrial manufacturing. Now, our area will get the resources needed for cleanup!”

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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