Plans for Queens School to be Built on Toxic Site to be Discussed Today at Pace

Pace University biology student Alessia Eramo, with her professor and mentor, James M. Cervino, Ph.D. and the chair of the Pace biology department, Richard Schlesinger, Ph.D., will be holding a town hall style meeting with the city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) and local government officials to discuss a proposed school in Queens to be built on a toxic site or “brownfield” and to present the results of studies they conducted at the site at the request of New York State Senator Frank Padavan. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, brownfields are real estate “the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence … of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact:
Cara Halstead, Public Information Officer, Pace University
914-773-3312 Office, 914-906-9680 Cell, chalstead@pace.edu

PLANS TO BUILD A SCHOOL ON A TOXIC SITE IN QUEENS
TO BE DISCUSSED AT PACE UNIVERSITY

Analysis of the New York State Department of Conservation Clean-up proposal to be presented to city’s School Construction Authority by Pace researchers

NEW YORK, NY, April 11, 2007 – Pace University biology student Alessia Eramo, with her professor and mentor, James M. Cervino, Ph.D. and the chair of the Pace biology department, Richard Schlesinger, Ph.D., will be holding a town hall style meeting with the city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) and local government officials to discuss a proposed school in Queens to be built on a toxic site or “brownfield” and to present the results of studies they conducted at the site at the request of New York State Senator Frank Padavan. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, brownfields are real estate “the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence … of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

To be called the Gateway School, the new structure is planned for a site on Goethals Ave. between 160th and 161st Streets in Jamaica, Queens.

WHAT: Presentation of toxicology research to the School Construction Authority and the public

WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 12:00pm

WHERE: Pace University, downtown New York City campus (near City Hall), 41 Park Row, Dyson Conference Room, 16th floor

WHO: Pace University researchers presenting to the city’s School Construction Authority, Queens government officials, and other concerned parties. This meeting is free and open to the public. Media admission is by press pass.

Cervino, a marine pathologist who is also a post doc researcher with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod, MA, was asked by Senator Frank Padavan (R) NY to analyze the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) clean-up proposal of the site. Pace biology department chair, Richard Schlesinger, Ph.D., will also be on hand to answer questions regarding human health concerns pertaining to the site and the proposed sub slab depressurization system, designed to eliminate soil gas, to be installed after the toxins are removed.

BACKGROUND: Soil samples were collected in 2001 and 2002 and then again in 2005 and 2006 at the request of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). After a remedial action plan was developed by the SCA and input received from the NYSDEC, the plan was approved by the DEC. Recent soil vapor samples analyzed by the Pace researchers revealed hazardous chemical substances remain including fuel, medical waste and cleaning chemicals. Although there are provisions in the SCA plan for removing these hazardous substances, the Pace researchers have found additional issues that should be resolved to minimize the health risks associated with them.

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