LONG BEACH - The site of a dry cleaning shop in Long Beach has been declared a Superfund site by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The DEC says contaminants have been found in the soil, groundwater and soil vapor around Nu-Clear Dry Cleaners, located at 180 E. Park Ave. The agency says elevated levels of cleaning solvent were detected by a neighbor this year as part of a property transaction investigation. After a preliminary investigation, the DEC listed the site on its registry of inactive hazardous waste sites.

The DEC says it anticipates that a full investigation and remediation will come “in the near future.” However, the DEC says further investigation of the Nu-Clear site and the surrounding area is needed to determine the full scope and size of the contamination.

Gary Hantverk's family has owned the store for more than six decades. He says he follows regulations regarding dumping waste. "I would never do anything to intentionally hurt anybody, especially the environment," he told News 12.

Neighbors who spoke to News 12 were disturbed by the news. The designation represents a major concern because it is near shallow water, commercial buildings and homes.

Environmental groups say it's a problem that plagues Long Island. "Out of the 230 toxic waste Superfund sites across Long Island, over one-third are originating from dry cleaners because dry cleaners use a lot of toxic chemicals," says Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Esposito says looser regulations before the 1980s enabled improper dumping of toxic waste, which can spread over time.

Hantverk says he is working with the DEC and county officials. Residents who have concerns are being urged to contact the county or state health departments.

The DEC notes that that Long Beach's public water supply is pulled from eight wells, which are not contaminated by the Nu-Clear site.