Dear Governor Cuomo,
Environmental threats of Greenpoint’s industrial past on Newtown Creek may be disappearing, but a new danger is brewing at the hands of large real estate developments. Currently two projects—Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial St—are slated to be built on the mouth of Newtown Creek. This is the largest waterfront redevelopment in Brooklyn’s history.
During the 2005 waterfront rezoning of industrial sites to residential properties, the city failed to perform a Full Phase 1 Environmental Testing. Most waterfront properties were private, so the city’s study relied on dated DOB violations, observations from the sidewalk, and old insurance maps to determine levels of toxicity.
Of the 22+ acres of land about to be rebuilt, a staggering 58,000 gallons of petroleum is buried in underground storage tanks. The project’s proposed elementary school will be built next to a former sludge tank. Across the street from the school and children’s playground is a State Superfund site which has two large plumes of liquid plasticizer leaking beneath the streets.
As more money flows into Greenpoint, toxic ground is being dug up at alarming rates. According to Greenpoint Landing’s construction timetable, residents will be exposed to toxic air from excavation for a total of 3 years; this is 60% of their 5 year construction period. This exposure does not include the 77 Commercial Street project, other brownfield clean-up sites in the area, or the EPA’s dredging of Newtown Creek which is currently releasing dangerous cancer-causing VOCs into the air we breathe.
A question no one in the city is answering: What are consequences on public health when cumulative heavy construction in the area exposes residents to compromised indoor air quality from toxic vapor intrusions carrying heavy metals, PCBs and VOCs?
Before residents get sick, we urge you Governor Cuomo and the State to order a comprehensive Environmental Site Assessment of the redeveloped area before construction begins.
Your continuing aid of the Newtown Creek clean-up is inspiring. We hope you will extend this support to the rest of Greenpoint and help protect your citizens.