Gateway Receives Funding to Deal with Radium Contaminated Soil

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Date: June 15, 2009
Contact: Brian Feeney, 718-354-4606

Phase One of the Multi-Year Effort Underway at Great Kills Park

Barry Sullivan, Gateway National Recreation Area General Superintendent, recently announced that the park has received funding to begin Phase I of the project to identify and potentially remediate the radium contaminated soil at Great Kills Park. Work on Phase I has already begun. Additionally, Gateway is currently seeking funding for Phase II of the project. Phase II will involve the production of a comprehensive report after thorough testing of the closed areas.

Commenting on this development Sullivan stated, “These funds will allow us to move forward in a comprehensive, scientific fashion. When Phase II is complete, we’ll have a good understanding of the problem as well as a set of alternatives for dealing with the contamination.” He added, “At that point we’ll know what it will take to clean-up the site and how much money will be involved. It is really the only option we have to ensure the entire site is completely free from contamination.”

“We know this situation is disruptive to our visitors, but our first priority has to be public safety,” said Sullivan. He added, “We moved all the sports leagues who wanted to stay at Gateway to Miller Field, and the majority of Great Kills Park remains open. Our visitors continue to enjoy a great experience on the beach, the multi-use pathway, and at Crookes Point, one of the best fishing spots in New York City.”


Over the past two years several isolated spots of radiation have been detected at Great Kills Park forcing Gateway to close approximately 40 acres of the park that are potentially contaminated by fill material that dates back to the 1930’s. While the levels of detected contamination have been quite low, until the extent of the contamination is fully known the park has closed the ball fields, the Model Airplane Field, some sections of woodland trails, and is in the process of extending the closure to include a small section  of the bulkhead in the contaminated soil area.

Great Kills Park was built by the New York City Department of Parks and was transferred to the National Park Service in 1972 when Congress created the Gateway National Recreation Area.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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