Volume 18 • Issue 48 | April 14 - 20, 2006

E.P.A. says no again to Deutsche demo plan

By Ronda Kaysen

Demolition of the contaminated Deutsche Bank building that hovers like a draped coffin over Lower Manhattan might not begin on time, the Environmental Protection Agency warned on Tuesday.

Pat Evangelista, World Trade Center coordinator for the E.P.A., sent a letter this week to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which owns the ill-fated building, warning that the demolition cannot begin until the corporation fully explains how it plans to take the tower down.

The 40-story structure at 130 Liberty St. was badly damaged on Sept. 11. Since then, it has stood as an ominous reminder of the slow pace of the redevelopment. Its demolition was first delayed by a protracted legal dispute between Deutsche Bank and its insurers. After the L.M.D.C. purchased the building from the bank in Sept. 2004, the corporation spent more than a year hammering out a cleanup and demolition plan that the E.P.A. would approve. Finally, just days before the fourth anniversary of 9/11, E.P.A. signed off on the demolition. Contaminated with a toxic cocktail of Trade Center dust—asbestos, lead and mercury, to name a few—the tower is just now being cleaned floor by floor in preparation for the demolition.

The demolition is scheduled to begin in June, but the E.P.A. voiced concerns about some of the techniques L.M.D.C. contractors plan to use to take the building down and requested additional details. L.M.D.C. sent a 23-page outline of its plans last week, insisting that nothing had changed since E.P.A. approved the plan in September.

The E.P.A. disagreed. And in an April 1l letter the agency insisted that many details had changed.

“E.P.A. and its regulatory partners have not been provided with sufficient details about these proposed engineering changes,” Evangelista wrote, adding that the agency disagrees with the L.M.D.C. that the plans were authorized in September.

The E.P.A. has several concerns about the current plan, including the use of a concrete crusher at the site. “It is not clear to the regulators why L.M.D.C. did not provide information to the regulators about the use of concrete crushing equipment long before L.M.D.C.’s anticipated schedule,” Evangelista wrote.

Other problems with the plan include the water sampling and waste management plan, using exterior chutes for disposing of debris and the use of a “floating roof,” which the agency said “is new information to the regulators, contrary to L.M.D.C.’s assertion.”

John Gallagher, the L.M.D.C.’s spokesperson, in an e-mail statement, said the corporation will continue to work with the E.P.A. to “expeditiously provide any further information, clarifications, enhancements or modifications to the plan that E.P.A. requests,” adding that the E.P.A. has not finished reviewing L.M.D.C.’s plan.



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