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EPA Finalizes Cleanup Plan for Old Roosevelt Field Contaminated Groundwater Area Superfund Site

Release Date: 10/11/2007
Contact Information: Elizabeth Totman 212-637-3662,

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected the final cleanup plan for the Old Roosevelt Field Contaminated Groundwater Area Superfund site in Garden City, New York. EPA plans to treat the ground water, which is contaminated, and take steps to minimize the movement of contaminants to mitigate any potential future health and environmental impacts.

“Roosevelt Field’s rich history includes aiding America’s efforts in World Wars I and II, and even witnessing the takeoff of Lindbergh’s famous trans-Atlantic flight. Today, the property is flourishing as an area of business,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Cleaning up this site will ensure the safety of everyone who visits, works in or lives near this area.”

The Old Roosevelt Field site contains ground water contaminated with volatile organic chemicals. It includes the land formerly utilized as an airfield, which currently consists of a thin strip of open space along the eastern side of Clinton Road, a large retail shopping mall with a number of restaurants, and a movie theater. Several office buildings are located on the perimeter of the mall.

A main component of EPA’s remediation efforts would involve the extraction of ground water contaminated by trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE), which has impacted two of Garden City’s drinking water supply wells, known as 10 and 11, that are located just east of Clinton Road. According to the cleanup plan, ground water would be extracted to prevent the contaminated ground water from spreading further. Ground water with high concentrations of TCE and PCE would be pulled out through a well to limit the impact to Garden City’s supply wells and would be treated to remove contaminants. The treated water would then be discharged to a nearby recharge basin. Following treatment, it would be expected that the ground water would meet drinking water standards through natural attenuation processes. The remedy would also include institutional controls that rely on well use restrictions and local zoning. In addition, EPA would conduct vapor sampling, and mitigation if necessary, at commercial buildings, as well as long-term monitoring.

Supply wells 10 and 11 were installed by the Village of Garden City in 1952 and were put into service in 1953. TCE and PCE have been detected in both wells. A treatment system, which uses a process called air stripping, was installed in 1987 and modified in the late 1990s to remove contaminants from the drinking water supply. The water supply is routinely tested to ensure compliance with federal and state drinking water standards.

Chlorinated solvents such as TCE and PCE were used for aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, and repair operations since the 1930s. The Roosevelt Field site was used for aviation activities from 1911 to 1951. The United States Army used Roosevelt Field during World War I. By 1932, Roosevelt Field was the country’s largest and busiest civil airfield consisting of paved runways and 50 buildings. Both the Army and Navy used it during World War II, after which the property reverted to a commercial airfield before closing in 1951.

For further information on the Old Roosevelt Field Contaminated Groundwater Area Superfund site, visit For more information on the Superfund program go to