Cleanup to begin this month at Edgewater superfund site

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EDGEWATER -

Cleanup is expected to begin this month at an Edgewater superfund site that officials say is dangerous to those living in the area.

Honeywell, the company in charge of the cleanup, is in the process of erecting housing to keep people from breathing in any toxins as the soil is stirred up. When the structure is complete, large generators will power the work inside while crews clean the contaminated soil.

Officials say the goal is to contain any toxins, as well as the smell of the chemical naphthalene.

But residents who live in the area say that they wish that they had been told about the toxins earlier. Condos have been constructed along the Hudson River close to the site.

RELATED: Health officials: Fumes from superfund site are harmful after all 

"That it was just a new complex and they were just making progress,” says Jessica Chambliss of Edgewater.

The naphthalene being released in the air had sent out a very strong odor of mothballs and tar into the neighborhood when cleanup first started.

At the time the EPA said those odors weren't harmful. However, a recent study by the state Department of Health determined there were harmful levels of naphthalene in the air. That study found Naphthalene could cause headaches and nausea, plus, "respiratory irritation, exacerbation of pre-existing respiratory conditions, and/or irritation of the nasal passage and airways of exposed individuals."

From July 2017 to March 2018, levels were at 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter. Levels over 500 micrograms can be harmful.

The Quanta plant that sat at the site recycled waste oil. Prior to Quanta, the plant made tar for roofing. There is also arsenic in the ground left over from a chemical company.

Air monitors will remain in surrounding parking lots to see if the containment is working.

The project will cost $78 million.

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