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Brookhattan Smelting and Refining
Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY

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Natalie Loney - (212) 637-3639
loney.natalie@epa.gov

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Brookhattan Smelting and Refining ran a small, secondary smelting operation out of an approximate 600 square foot building located at 162 Richards Street in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. This area is a mixed residential, commercial and light industrial area of the Red Hook neighborhood. The former smelting site is part of a 2.25-acre city block that is now occupied by Public School 15 (P.S. 15), the Patrick F. Daly School, located at 71 Sullivan Street. The block is bound by Sullivan, Richards, Wolcott and Van Brunt Streets.  The Red Hook West housing complex is located directly adjacent to this block beyond Richards Street.

According to historical sources the building located at 162 Richards Street which housed the former Brookhattan facility existed there from around 1934 through the early 1960s.  Brookhattan sold high grade composition metal, including copper alloy scrap.  In the early to mid-60’s the Brookhattan building, and all other buildings on the block, was demolished and soil removed.  P.S. 15 was constructed from 1966 to 1968. The former Brookhattan building makes up less than one percent of the footprint of P.S. 15.

In May 2013 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sampled soil in the vicinity of the site to determine if the former lead smelting facility had potentially contaminated soil.  Soil samples were collected from P.S. 15, the Red Hook West housing complex along Richards Street, and several other locations along Ferris Street. Samples were collected at 11 locations from five different depths up to two feet below ground surface.

Results of the EPA sampling indicate that lead is not present in surface soil at P.S. 15 above health-based limits. Elevated lead levels were found beneath the surface (deeper than six inches below the ground surface) within the inner courtyard at P.S. 15, however, there is not a significant threat of exposure.

In the Red Hook West housing complex lead was found in surface soil at one location at levels above the EPA’s Residential Screening Level of 400 parts per million (ppm).  Surface soil at this one location was detected at 610 ppm.  Soil beneath the surface at this location contained significantly higher concentrations of lead. This area is known as a “hot spot.”  The source of this hot spot is currently unknown.  Lead was also found beneath the surface in three other locations in the Red Hook West complex, along Richards Street.  Surface detections of lead at these three locations were below health-based limits.

In June 2013, EPA collected additional soil samples at the Red Hook West housing complex to further investigate the extent of the contamination at the hot spot and to determine if there was additional soil contamination at the Red Hook West housing complex on the block where samples were collected in May 2013. The June 2013 sampling data indicated that the historic Brookhattan facility did not release lead to the Red Hook West housing complex.  Historic fill material did show lead from unknown and potentially varied sources. However, the lead levels were not an immediate health concern.  EPA provided the results to the property owner and appropriate City and State programs along with recommendations for long-term mitigation and maintenance to reduce the potential for contact with lead-contaminated soil.


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