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State to take bids in Jamaica’s West Side Corp. cleanup

The DEC and the city Department of Environmental Protection are tackling a long-term project to remove the gasoline and dry cleaning chemicals that seeped into the ground under the West Side Corp. factory at 107-10 180th St.The DEC, which is taking the lead in the efforts, is soliciting bids from contracting companies and other firms to start the work on soil remediation, said Helen Neuhaus, of Helen Neuhaus and Associates, which was hired by the agencies as a community liaison and public relations firm."That's really the first step," she said.The two public agencies have been working to remove chemical contaminants, including perchloroethylene, a dry cleaning chemical known as PERC, and the gas additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE, that seeped into the underground water supply from the West Side Corp. factory during the 1970s. The factory was used to store PERC, while the MTBE is believed to have come from the underground fuel tanks of nearby gas stations.The clean-up plans call for the soil to be treated using a thermal injection technology, which would employ an electrical current to heat the ground and evaporate the toxins. Once that is complete the contaminated water would be pumped out of the ground and disposed of through sewage and drainage pipes. The water would not be added to the drinking supply.By pumping out the water, the agencies hope to eliminate the plume of contaminated materials that has spread underground.The bid for the soil remediation component was slated to be awarded in late August. But it was unclear when work may actually begin, Neuhaus said. A DEC spokeswoman said the winning contractor could get a green light to start work in November.The bidding process was initially to be opened July 20, but the DEC tacked on two additional pieces to the bid and the companies asked for an extension before submitting the proposals, Neuhaus said. One of the amendments provided more information for the contractors and the second related to bond issues, the DEC spokeswoman said. Once the cleanup gets underway it could still be 10 years before the water and soil are completely cleansed.Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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