Remediation Site Descriptions

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Former ExxonMobil Terminal (OU-1, OU-2, OU-3, OU-4, and OU-5)

By 1892, five of the petroleum refineries in the Greenpoint area (Central Refining, Washington Oil Company, Kings Company Oil Refining, Empire Refining Company, and The Deove Manufacturing Brooklyn Oil Works) were purchased and became known as the Standard Oil Trust. In 1911, the Standard Oil Trust was dissolved and these properties became the Standard Oil Company of New York (SOCONY) and by 1929, had expanded to over 79 acres along Newtown Creek, including the property currently owned by BP. In 1931, SOCONY merged with the Vacuum Oil Company, which later became Mobil, and now is known as ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil ceased its refining operations in 1966, and in 1968, sold a portion of their property to Amoco Oil Company (Amoco) (now BP) and other entities. Following the discovery of petroleum products seeping into Newtown Creek in 1978, ExxonMobil began to investigate and remediate the plume, and by 1993, had discontinued all fuel operations on the terminal property. In 2007, ExxonMobil removed the empty aboveground storage tanks associated with its former refinery operations, and from 2008 to 2012 excavated and removed more than 100,000 feet of underground piping from the former Brooklyn Terminal property.

The original consent agreement between ExxonMobil and the NYSDEC was developed in 1990. In 2010, ExxonMobil signed a new consent agreement with the NYSDEC wherein they assumed responsibility for the remediation efforts within the historical footprint of the Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project, excluding the areas of the BP Terminal, Former Paragon Oil Terminal, and Apollo Street Creek Parcels. ExxonMobil’s responsibility includes an area of approximately 174 acres and typically referred to as the EM Decree Site on project figures (shown as a yellow and black line on figures). Based on the size, complexity, and variation of conditions across this area, the ExxonMobil site has been divided into eight geographically-based operable units (OUs) discussed in the revised Conceptual Site Plan (CSP) submitted in 2012. An operable unit is a portion of a remedial program that for technical or administrative reasons is addressed separately to investigate or cleanup site contamination. The approximately 62-acre portion of the site where ExxonMobil historically conducted petroleum operations consists of OU-1 through OU-5. A short description of these OUs is presented below:

OU-1 (Former Lube Plant) OU-1 (Former Lube Plant): This approximately 10.5-acre area in the northernmost portion of the Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project was part of the former Mobil Brooklyn Refinery. OU-1 housed the Grease and Compounding Works (also known as the Former Lube Plant) for SOCONY, which manufactured grease, oil blending, compounding, and specialty products. Investigation activities performed from 1979 to 1980 identified measurable free product in 18 of 46 monitoring wells installed in the area, with an unknown volume of free-product removed from recovery well RW-7. ExxonMobil discontinued remediation operations of the Former Lube Plant and sold the property in 1985. Based upon visual observations, the property is being operated by Allocco Recycling, Ltd, as a soil blending and recycling facility.

OU-2 (Former Northern Crude Yard) OU-2 (Former Northern Crude Yard): This approximately seven-acre area of the former Mobil Brooklyn Refinery is located between OU-1 and Greenpoint Avenue. Historically, the OU-2 area was operated as a storage facility for crude and refined petroleum products from the late 1800s until 1997. New York City (NYC) acquired the property from ExxonMobil in 1997 as part of the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) expansion that was completed in 2008. Prior to the expansion of the WPCP, soil and groundwater were removed to a depth of 30 feet below ground surface from beneath the property (approximately 258,000 cubic yards of soil and 150 million gallons of groundwater were removed). This was accomplished by installing water-tight sheeting around the entire perimeter of OU-2 to a depth of 45 feet that remains in place.

OU-3 (460 Kingsland Avenue) OU-3 (460 Kingsland Avenue): This approximately four-acre area of the former Mobil Brooklyn Refinery is located immediately south of Greenpoint Avenue and east of Kingsland Avenue. Prior to 1892, this area was primarily undeveloped marsh land that was filled and used by both the Columbus Distilling Company and ExxonMobil’s predecessors until 1920 when the entire property was used for refinery operations. The property primarily served as a petroleum bulk storage yard that also had a concrete pit structure known as the TSD Blending Plant, which was in operation from 1954 to 1961. ExxonMobil sold the property in 1967, and the property has been redeveloped for various uses since that time.

OU-4 (Former ExxonMobil Brooklyn Terminal) OU-4 (Former ExxonMobil Brooklyn Terminal): This approximately 23-acre area is currently owned by ExxonMobil and was considered the main plant area for the “Former ExxonMobil Brooklyn Terminal”. This OU is comprised of three parcels that are known as Kingsland Yard, Monitor Yard, and North Henry Yard. Refinery operations were present from the late 1800s until the late 1960s when OU-4 was operated as a petroleum bulk storage terminal until operations ceased in 1993. One of ExxonMobil’s two groundwater treatment systems is located on the Kingsland Yard parcel and is known as the ExxonMobil Terminal Recovery and Containment System (RCS). The RCS has a capacity to treat up to 450 gallons per minute of groundwater and currently receives groundwater from four recovery wells located within OU-4 and OU-5 as well as five recovery wells from the Off-Site Plume Area (OU-7). The effluent (treated groundwater) is discharged to Newtown Creek through a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permitted outfall located off the 400 Kingsland Avenue (Kingsland Yard) property.

In 2013, a total of approximately 156 million gallons of groundwater was treated by the RCS (approximately 10 million gallons was from the BP Terminal property), while over 32,600 gallons of product was recovered by the four RCS recovery wells located in OU-4 and OU-5.

OU-5 (Southern Former Refinery Properties) OU-5 (Southern Former Refinery Properties): This approximately 17-acre area is comprised of six properties located between OU-4 and Norman Avenue, and was part of the former Mobil Brooklyn Refinery. The properties housed a variety of refining and storage facilities until the mid to late 1960s when these properties were sold to various owners that use the properties for a variety of commercial and industrial facilities. Subsurface investigation activities have been performed at these properties and OU-5 remains an active area for free-product recovery efforts. ExxonMobil is also in the process of expanding the soil vapor extraction (SVE) system currently located in northern area of OU-7 in order to mitigate elevated concentrations of benzene and methane vapors observed in the subsurface of OU-5.

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ExxonMobil Off-Site Plume Area (OU-6, OU-7, and OU-8)

In accordance with the 1990 consent agreement between ExxonMobil and the NYSDEC, ExxonMobil accepted responsibility to delineate and remediate the portion of the free-product plume outside of the Former ExxonMobil Terminal properties, excluding that underlying the BP Terminal. This area became known as the ExxonMobil Off-Site Plume and generally consists of the areas south of Norman Avenue and west of Bridgewater Street. Free product beneath this area is the result of petroleum products spilled from the former refinery properties and other unknown releases and that flowed southward under the influence of pumping municipal wells near the center of Brooklyn prior to 1950. The Off-Site Plume area is largely commercial, but does include a portion of the residential area south of Nassau Avenue. This approximately 112-acre area consists of OU-6 through OU-8. A short description of these OUs is presented below:

OU-6 (Western Off-Site Area) OU-6 (Western Off-Site Area): This approximately 14-acre area is comprised of approximately 33 commercial and industrial properties west of the former ExxonMobil Brooklyn Refinery. While ExxonMobil never owned or operated petroleum activities on any of these properties, and OU-6 appears to be located outside of the historical footprint of the free-product plume, it was included as part of the 2010 consent agreement because previous investigations had not been completed in this area.

OU-7 (Southern Off-Site Area) OU-7 (Southern Off-Site Area): This approximately 76-acre area is comprised of numerous commercial, industrial, and residential properties south of the former Mobil Brooklyn Refinery. While ExxonMobil never owned or operated petroleum activities on any of the properties within OU-7, the current extent and historic footprint of the free-product plume has extended beneath much of this area. The majority of the free-product plume is believed to have migrated south-southwest into the OU-7 area prior to the late 1950s, when various municipal and industrial wells located near the center of Brooklyn were pumping groundwater as a water-supply source. Numerous investigations and product recovery efforts have been performed in this area, with the majority of the active free-product recovery in recent years from OU-7. ExxonMobil is also operating a SVE system to mitigate the presence of shallow soil vapor contamination in northern area of OU-7.

OU-8 (Eastern Off-Site Area) OU-8 (Eastern Off-Site Area): This approximately 22-acre area is comprised of numerous commercial and industrial properties southeast of the former Mobil Brooklyn Refinery. While ExxonMobil never owned or operated petroleum activities on any of the properties within OU-8, the current extent and historic footprint of the free-product plume has extended beneath this area. This portion of the off-site area was developed into a separate OU due to the extensive historical free-product recovery that has occurred and the lower volume of free-product accumulation that has occurred compared to OU-7.

The product recovery system for the ExxonMobil Off-Site Plume area includes 16 dual-phase recovery wells located throughout OU-7 and OU-8. Groundwater from 11 of these Off-Site recovery wells is treated at the ExxonMobil Off-Site Free-Product Recovery System (ORS) located at the corner of Bridgewater Street and Meeker Avenue (OU-7). Groundwater from the remaining five recovery wells is at the ExxonMobil RCS (OU-4). The effluent from the ORS is discharged from a SPDES-permitted outfall located at the end of Meeker Avenue into Newtown Creek (OU-8). In 2012, ExxonMobil installed gabion baskets around the off-site effluent discharge location to help prevent erosion of the Newtown Creek bank.

In 2013, a total of approximately 204 million gallons of groundwater was treated by the ORS and a total of approximately 245,000 gallons of product was recovered from beneath the Off-Site Plume Area.

Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project Photo Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project Photo
OU 7 - View of off-site treatment system building

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BP Terminal

BP Terminal The BP Terminal property, located at 125 Apollo Street, is bordered by Newtown Creek to the north, Apollo Street to the east, Norman Avenue to the south, and Long Island Carpet Cleaners and various other industrial/commercial businesses to the west. The property was part of the former Brooklyn Terminal refinery operated by ExxonMobil and its predecessor companies until Amoco Oil Company purchased the property from ExxonMobil in 1968. Amoco constructed and began operating a fuel bulk storage facility in 1970 that still operates today. The BP terminal property is approximately 10 acres and has 11 aboveground storage tanks and one underground storage tank, with two loading racks. The storage capacity of the terminal is approximately 5,900,000 gallons and has been used to store diesel fuel, #2 fuel oil, kerosene, gasoline, and ethanol. Amoco Oil Company was renamed BP Amoco in 2000, and in 2008 became known as BP.

BP first installed a remediation system in 1980 to begin to recover product from historical refinery operations. The current BP Terminal product recovery system includes eleven dual-phase recovery wells located throughout the Terminal property. Ten of these recovery wells actively recover product, while the other well is a contingency well. Groundwater extracted from the recovery wells is currently pumped to the Former ExxonMobil Terminal RCS for treatment prior to discharge; however, BP is in the process of testing and commissioning their own groundwater treatment system that is expected to begin operation in 2014. In addition to storing the product removed by the BP recovery wells, BP also collects the product recovered by ExxonMobil’s On-site and Off-site recovery wells on a weekly basis and stores the product in an underground storage tank on the BP Terminal property until it is removed for disposal.

In 2013, a total of approximately 10 million gallons of groundwater recovered by BP wells was treated by ExxonMobil RCS, and a total of approximately 16,416 gallons of product was recovered from beneath the BP Terminal property.

Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project Photo General site view from Norman Avenue

Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project Photo Greenpoint Petroleum Remediation Project Photo
BP above ground storage tanks as viewed from Newtown Creek

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Former Paragon Oil Terminal

Former Paragon Oil Terminal The former Paragon Oil Terminal property is located at 16, 42, and 50 Bridgewater Street and is bordered by Newtown Creek to the north, Meeker Avenue to the east, Bridgewater Street to the south, and the Apollo Street Creek parcels to the west. Beginning in 1886, two companies operated on this property: the Locust Hill Refining Company and Greenpoint Oil Refining. Both of these companies ended operations by 1905. From 1905 to 1921, a portion of the property operated as a cement works company. By 1929, a portion of the property was being operated as a petroleum storage terminal by Supreme Oil, which later became known as the Petroleum Terminal Corporation. The other portion of the property was privately owned until 1928 when it became the Brooklyn Ash Removal Company. In 1934, all operations throughout the entire property were either run by, or affiliated with, the Paragon Oil Company, which operated the site as petroleum storage terminal for fuel oil (numbers 2, 4, and 6), lube oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, and kerosene. Paragon Oil was purchased by Texaco Oil, now is now known as the Chevron/Texaco Corporation, in 1960. The property was sold to Peerless Importers (now known as Empire Merchants) in 1968, which currently operates the property as a liquor distribution warehouse. According to a 2005 consent agreement with the NYSDEC, Texaco is responsible for delineation and remediation of the portion of the free-product plume underlying the Former Paragon Oil Terminal and to control seepage of petroleum into Newtown Creek at this location.

In 2004, over 400 feet of the concrete bulkhead along Newtown Creek was replaced with a steel bulkhead and a grout wall was added in 2006. In 2008, Texaco rehabilitated the Apollo Street Creek Parcel bulkhead and applied a sealant to the seams of the existing steel bulkhead in the area of product recovery to minimize product seepage into the creek. In addition to the bulkhead upgrades, Texaco also maintains “globe” boom containment along both Newtown Creek bulkheads to contain any product that may escape from landside. The amount of product observed inside the containment booms has significantly decreased over time due to the bulkhead upgrades and the total fluid product recovery well system discussed below.

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Apollo Street Creek Parcels

Apollo Street Creek Parcels The Apollo Street Creek Parcels are located at 100-120 Apollo Street and are bordered by Newtown Creek to the north, the former Paragon Oil terminal to the east, Bridgewater Street to the south, and the BP Terminal to the west. Unlike the surrounding properties, there is no known history or evidence that petroleum refining or distribution operations ever existed on the Apollo Street Parcels. Significant fill was added to the eastern portion of the site in the late 1800s to fill tidal wetlands and create additional land. Various private citizens owned the property until it was purchased in 1926 by the Brooklyn Ash Removal Company. In 1933, NYC acquired the property and operated a trash incinerator until 1965 when operations ceased, likely the result of public complaints against dust and odor, as evidenced by newspaper articles from the time. In 1968, the Bridge-Apollo Company purchased the property, but by the mid-1980’s, the two lots comprising the Apollo Street Creek Parcels were under separate ownership. In 2000, Apollo Steel, LLC (Steel Equities) purchased both lots, leasing them to Empire Merchants for warehouse operations.

In 2007, the NYSDEC conducted a Remedial Investigation (RI) and Remedy Selection (RS) on the Apollo Street Creek Parcels. The purpose of the RI/RS was to assess the distribution of contamination at the site and develop a proposed remedial method for the free-product beneath the site.

On May 15, 2009, NYSDEC and Texaco entered into an administrative order which expands the efforts to address contamination at both the Former Paragon Terminal and Apollo Street Creek Parcels. Under the administrative order, Texaco agreed to address contamination beneath the Apollo Street Creek Parcels site, even though Texaco never owned or maintained operations at this property.

The current Texaco product recovery system includes 13 total fluid recovery wells located along the Former Paragon Oil Terminal and Apollo Street bulkheads. The total fluid pumps bring both product and water from the subsurface to an oil-water separator. Product is stored in an aboveground storage tank on the property pending removal and off-site disposal on a monthly basis. Groundwater is pumped though a treatment system and discharged to the combined sanitary sewer system via a NYC Department of Environmental Protection discharge permit.

In 2013, a total of approximately 7.5 million gallons of groundwater was recovered by the total fluid recovery system and a total of approximately 160 gallons of product was recovered from beneath the Former Paragon Oil Terminal and Apollo Street Creek Parcels. A Decision Document will be issued by DEC in 2014 documenting the Department’s long term remedy for both Former Paragon Oil Terminal and Apollo Street sites.

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This page was last reviewed on Thursday, April 17, 2014.