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LIRR mercury cleanup done in Great Neck

A train speeds by old rail road ties

A train speeds by old rail road ties and debris stacked along the west end of the Mineola LIRR station platform. (April 27, 2011) Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

The Long Island Rail Road has cleaned up mercury contamination at an Old Cutter Mill Road site in Great Neck well enough that further action likely will not be taken, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced recently.

Between the 1930s and 1980s, the LIRR operated substations that housed devices that used mercury to power locomotives and electric passenger cars. In the 1980s, these devices were removed and replaced but not before the sites were contaminated.

Under a voluntary cleanup program agreement, 70 tons of mercury-contaminated soil were removed from the Great Neck site in 2008, the substation was demolished and a new one was built.

The LIRR also installed high-security fencing, put down a stone layer to cover exposed soil and implemented a soil management plan.

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