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Public Lab Research note


Soil testing at a massive construction site in the Lower East Side

by bhamster , LESBreathe | April 22, 2021 00:59 22 Apr 00:59 | #25829 | #25829

Introduction:

LES Breathe is a community group actively working to protect public health in the Lower East Side and East Village neighborhoods of Manhattan, New York City. Alongside these historically low- and middle-income neighborhoods runs the East River Park, the high-traffic FDR Drive, and the East River. The city has a plan to demolish East River Park to make way for a huge flood control project, and residents are concerned about their air and soil quality while this years-long demolition and construction takes place.

Our main concern:

Community members are concerned that demolition and construction will stir up hazardous substances and contaminated dust that will be harmful to residents' health.

The site runs right along a high-traffic highway, and some initial soil testing found lead in the soil. The community group recently got access to a larger, city-commissioned soil investigation report on samples from the East River Park, and a brief review of the report indicates pollution associated with manufactured gas plants.

Obstacles and supporting information:

One obstacle is that the soil investigation report is 2000+ pages long and the LES Breathe team is wondering where to begin in understanding what's in the report.

There's also a city-commissioned remedial action plan and questions about whether it'll be sufficient to address the communities' concerns and protect their health throughout the whole project.

Both the soil investigation report and the remedial action plan can be found in LES Breathe's Google Drive folder here: SoilAirTestNYC.

What are the initial questions?

  • Does the 2000+ page soil report (in the linked folder above) show evidence of soil pollution in East River Park?
  • If high levels of pollutants were found, what might this mean for residents when demolition and construction in the park begin?
  • Is the remedial action plan sufficient to protect residents' health?
  • What can residents do now and during the project to protect their health?

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@bhamster has marked @LESBreathe as a co-author.

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