I would also like to post some follow up information about the asbestos removal at the 340 Court St. site. There has been a lot of discussion about it both here and on the Gowanus Lounge and I would like to share the corespondence I have had with David Lowin of Clarett Group:
Dear Mr. Lowin,
Thank you for your response on the Union-Sackett Block Association blog. I am pleased you read it and have an interest in what the community is doing. I'm confident that you and Clarett, as well as your construction team, are doing the work at the 340 Court St. site correctly and safety. My concern lies in the fact that the information you have given me about asbestos, concerning permits and their placement, does not correspond with the information I have received from the Department of Environmental Protection. This is the response I got from the Asbestos Ombudsman of the DEP in Washington D.C.:
There is an EPA publication entitled Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-containing Materials in Buildings which discusses at length the requirement of constructing barriers completely around buildings in which asbestos containing materials are being disturbed. The barriers usually consist of heavy-gauge plastic sheeting stretched vertically to contain anything that is removed or released. It is also stated that aprominent sign must be posted at all entrances at a distance of at least 20 ft from the entrance.
Another document, National Emission Standards for Hazardous AirPollutants; Asbestos NESHAP Revision (40 CFR Part 61 Subpart M) statesthe requirement for warning signs that must be posted on all trucks that are involved in hauling/removing asbestos material away from the site.The link below is to asbestos rules and regulations published by the NewYork City Department of Environmental Protection. Go to p. 58 where youwill find Subchapter G, Part 2 (Work Procedures), article1-125 (Work Area Preparation), paragraph (a). That paragraph deals with noticesthat must be placed at each entrance to a facility in which abatement isto be done.
The neighbors of the site on the Union St. side of the site were unaware of the abatement. One tenant was unpleasantly surprised, particularly after he spent the whole day raking in his yard. Can you clarify why permits or notices were not posted? There seems to be continual discrepancy about the law and my response from D.C. conflicts with the information I have received from you via the blog.
The purpose of our blog is to make Block Association members and other community members aware of what is going on in our neighborhood, particularly at the 340 site. It would be much more direct if a member of Clarett could communicate to the community directly about what is going on at the site, especially when it is something as serious and of a concern as asbestos abatement. A posted notice, a phone call to neighbors, or even an email would have been appropriate.
If you or member of your team would like the information of the neighboring residents I can forward it to you, along with any other contact information for members of our association.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Union-Sackett Block Association
Mr. Lowin replied:
I have just double checked the notification requirements per our third-party monitor. The only entrances that need to have signs are those that are unlocked. As you know, all entrances to the building are locked, except for the rear entrance of the building, which is how our workers are entering the building. That rear entrance has signage on it indicating that asbestos abatement is in process.
Also, I am surprised to hear that anyone has been unaware of the abatement activity. As you no doubt recall the topic of asbestos abatement was discussed at length at our meeting in December. At the time, we indicated that abatement activity would begin right after New Years and would last for about 3 weeks. Therefore I believe we have provided the Association with several weeks notice of the commencement of abatement activity, and we asked that all in attendance spread that word. In addition, I received an email from Tom Gray (from Bill Diblasio's office) requesting an update on the abatement timing, and responded that day, that abatement was set to begin right after New Year's day.
Regarding future communications, I believe that a representative of one of the elected officials who was present (Tom Gray) offered to start up an email mailing list to facilitate the distribution of further knowledge. I have not yet received such a list, but will use it to update the association once it is compiled.
Thank you for your concern,
The Clarett Group
We will try to get an e-mail list together for David Lowin and encourage him and others at Clarett to use both that list and the blog to help keep us informed.