Volume 21, Number 41 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | February 20 - 26, 2009
Slight spike in dangerous chemical near Deutsche
An air monitor at the Deutsche Bank building detected elevated levels of the element manganese last week, but the readings likely have more to do with passing trucks than the decontamination work inside the building.
A monitor on the northwest corner of the ground floor found high levels of manganese Feb. 9 and Feb. 10. The healthy limit for manganese, which can cause neurological damage when inhaled, is 500 nanograms per cubic meter. At the Deutsche Bank building last week, monitors detected 570 nanograms and 640 nanograms, said Mike Murphy, spokesperson for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which owns the building.
Manganese is found in exhaust from trucks and construction equipment, so the Deutsche Bank exceedences likely came from a combination of welding work in the building’s basement; nearby construction at 130 Cedar St.; local truck traffic; and work at the World Trade Center site, the L.M.D.C. said in an e-mailed update.
The L.M.D.C. did not find out about the exceedences until late Monday night, a week after they happened, because the air monitoring results had to go to a lab, Murphy said. The L.M.D.C. immediately stopped work Monday night and notified the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday morning, then notified the public via e-mail in the afternoon.
“We appreciate the e-update, but it would be great to have some more clarity,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1’s W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee. The e-update did not include the days or amounts of the exceedences.
Murphy said the L.M.D.C. sent out the information they thought was relevant.
On Tuesday, the E.P.A. allowed the L.M.D.C. to resume all work not related to welding. Welding work will have to wait until contractor Bovis Lend Lease fits the welders with emissions controls, but this will not delay the schedule, because the basement welding work finished last week, Murphy said.
This is the first time 130 Liberty St.’s monitors detected manganese. The monitors detected silica exceedences previously, but that was unrelated to the work of cleaning and demolishing the office tower, which was damaged on 9/11. The building is scheduled to come down by the middle of this fall, after a series of delays including the 2007 fire in the building that killed two firefighters.
In a separate e-update Wednesday, the L.M.D.C. announced the posting of its new demolition plan for 130 Liberty St. on renewnyc.com. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will hold a public meeting on the plan March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at 250 Broadway. Officials hope to resume the deconstruction at the end of April.
— Julie Shapiro