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Remediating Greenpoint: ExxonMobil demonstrates community commitment

Since the late 1800s, New York’s Greenpoint neighborhood and ExxonMobil have a long, shared history.

Greenpoint was home to more than 50 oil refineries, tanneries, manufactured gas plants, metal manufacturers and other businesses, which were located along Newtown Creek, New York City’s industrial waterway since the early 19th century. The area continues to be an important industrial zone. More than 1,500 businesses are located within a quarter mile of the creek, and a vast amount of goods are transported on it annually.

After several decades of operation, many of the refineries were consolidated into the Brooklyn Refinery of Standard Oil Company (later Mobil Oil Corporation). While refining operations ceased in the mid-1960s, in 1978, petroleum contamination—accumulated over the preceding 100 years—was discovered.

Complex remediation projects such as Greenpoint – where petroleum products are underground and not easily accessed – take time to complete. ExxonMobil is deploying the latest proven technology and careful planning to ensure a safe and effective recovery. At the same time, the company is partnering with local businesses, civic organizations and schools to help make Greenpoint a better place to live and work.

“ExxonMobil takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. We have been active and aggressive in our cleanup efforts, and have made significant progress,” said Greenpoint Project Manager Steve Trifiletti. “We continually evaluate new technologies in an effort to enhance our remediation efforts and to ensure we are using advanced system components to accelerate recovery and remediation at Greenpoint.

“Our commitment to the community is that we will be in Greenpoint until the job is done, and done right.”

At the site

ExxonMobil’s remediation efforts at Greenpoint not only include product recovery, but also treatment of water, ongoing monitoring and addressing soil vapor issues. To aid in remediation, the company is using the latest proven technologies that enhance, optimize and accelerate recovery.

The dual-pump recovery system has proven to be the most efficient and best subsurface option for this remediation. The system works by depressing the water table around the recovery well. This creates a cone that allows petroleum products to flow into the recovery well for removal.

The site also acts as an annual training ground for environmental engineering students at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Cadets gain valuable field experience and learn about advanced engineering technologies developed by ExxonMobil. Community leaders and residents are also welcome to visit the facility. To ensure constant communication and transparency, the company keeps the community informed.

In the community

Together with other organizations within the Greenpoint community, ExxonMobil is working to improve the neighborhood’s quality of life. Through its support of Public School 110, ExxonMobil helped upgrade the school’s computer lab, fund teacher grants and introduce students to hands-on science through Green Science Day.

Green Science Day, which began as one day in 2011 attended by 98 percent of the student body, has been expanded to an entire week devoted to gardening, planting and hydroponics. In 2012, this event was co-sponsored by ExxonMobil and Broadway Stages, one of New York City’s largest film production facilities located in Greenpoint. That relationship grew as Broadway Stages joined ExxonMobil in sponsoring the 2012 summer teen SYSTEM program (Summer Youth Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). That effort contributed to ExxonMobil being awarded a Corporate Lands for Learning Certificate from the national Wildlife Habitat Council for the youths’ work to rehabilitate a local park and garden.

ExxonMobil also adopted the Greenpoint Library, provided support to the local YMCA and contributed to the Town Square Earth Day Festival. And when members of the Auxiliary Police of the New York Police Department needed uniforms and equipment, ExxonMobil stepped forward.

“ExxonMobil is committed to not only conduct an effective remediation program at Greenpoint, but also to work with the community to seek new ways to engage with our neighbors and invest in the future of this community,” said Kevin Thompson, ExxonMobil’s community liaison.