Cleanup Standards

Stricter Soil Cleanup Standard on Waterfront

When industrial development is proposed for waterfront properties, the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) requires developers to clean their sites to stricter, commercial soil standards. Cleaning waterfront property to stricter standards is part of the Office’s strategy to reduce the dispersion of contaminants on the waterfront from coastal erosion during severe storms.

The case study below features a remedial action for a regional recycling facility to be built on the waterfront in the Sunset Park industrial district in Brooklyn.  


Tully Environmental Inc., which owns and operates six solid and liquid waste management facilities across the metropolitan area,

ClearBrook Recycling Facility
proposed to build a regional grease recycling facility on the waterfront in Sunset Park to serve the restaurant industry. The facility, to be known as ClearBrook Recycling, will heat fat, oil and grease from restaurants and refine it into a bio-fuel supplement. A grease recycling facility in New York City will encourage restaurants to properly dispose of grease waste rather than flush it down drains which can damage city sewers.

The ClearBrook Recycling facility will feature three buildings totaling 30,800 square feet of new industrial space. Besides spurring economic growth and providing 50 permanent jobs available to local residents, the ClearBrook recycling site will be remediated to ensure that this waterfront property and the surrounding community is protected from pollutant dispersion during coastal storms.


In 2007, the NYC Economic Development Corp developed a plan to revitalize the Sunset Park industrial district. Disinvestment in the area over the past several decades had drained this once thriving industrial area of its vitality. The ClearBrook recycling site is within this promising but currently underutilized area.  Potential land contamination issues from the prior use of the site for manufacturing and warehouse storage surfaced when Tully Environmental prepared to redevelop the property.

To address contamination issues, the developer, working with the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER), conducted a thorough investigation of the site’s groundwater, soil, and soil vapor. Tully Environmental then opted to enroll the site in the city Voluntary Cleanup Program, a land cleanup program managed by OER, and clean it up to meet stringent residential standards.

The property and the development plan for the three buildings have also been examined as part of OER’s Climate Change Resilience Survey program. The survey highlights opportunities to implement sustainable remediation techniques, resilience measures for extreme weather events such as floods, and other efficient design practices to promote environmental resiliency and sustainability in the industrial park.


With the implementation of stricter waterfront soil cleanup standards and the Climate Change Resilience Survey program, the site’s development reflects the best available approach to protect and strengthen this burgeoning waterfront area from severe storms.