The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given its approval for construction on the Garvies Point waterfront redevelopment land in Glen Cove that it oversees, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation says it expects to finish remediation on its portion of the cleanup site in the next several days.
Uniondale-based RXR Glen Isle Partners is building 1,110 condominiums and apartments, parks, stores, offices, restaurants, marinas, an esplanade and other amenities on 56 acres.
“For the properties within the proposed development, for which the EPA has the lead role, the EPA believes that it is safe to build on these properties as long as construction is done in accordance” with EPA guidelines, the agency said in a statement.
The EPA and DEC are requiring at least 2 feet of clean soil over grassy areas and other open space. Buildings, pavement and sidewalks can be built directly on soil that has a low level of residual contamination.
The DEC, EPA, the city of Glen Cove, RXR and some companies that in past years had operations on the site have spent more than 20 years and about $120 million remediating much of the Garvies Point land, which had been home to a metal-processing plant, salvage yard, oil storage tanks and other industrial uses, along with the city dump.
After DEC finishes the last remaining remediation on its part of the Garvies Point land, the agency expects to take a few weeks preparing a final report.
DEC had hoped to finish the cleanup by the end of 2016, but the agency said in a statement that the excavation area for remediation was larger than expected.
Remediation over the past several months has been to clean up isolated spots of contamination and protect groundwater, the two agencies said.
EPA and DEC approval means that the agencies believe that anyone who lives in or uses Garvies Point would not be at higher risk for disease, as long as construction guidelines are followed. Garvies Point opponents have long voiced skepticism that the site will ever be safe.
Officials with the two agencies have said that construction will be monitored and that, even after Garvies Point is built, tests of the land and air will continue to ensure public safety.