Letters to the Editor, June 25

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Unanswered questions about sanitation garage

To the editor and our community,

This is an open letter prepared for comments regarding a DEIS for the sanitation garage planned for the Brookdale site in our neighborhood.

This consolidated garage will be a big industrial facility located in between to two public hospitals, the NYU Dental School and just a few blocks from at least two large middle class apartment complexes and several schools. I believe we in this community are owed detailed, scientific explanations of New York City’s plans to handle various industrial activities within and around this garage.

1) The trucks will be washed with some regularity. Assuming this will take tons of water and chemicals to disinfect, how will this be handled? Assuming it will go into the sewer system, can the existing sewers handle these copious amounts? Are you planning to dig and expand the current pipes? For how many blocks? What sewage treatment plant will receive this? Will any of this go into the East River when there are storms? Are there any VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) used in this process and how are they handled?

2) A garbage truck has many moving parts and at least one hydraulic system. They will be repaired and/or serviced in this garage.  Such processes have to use petroleum products and benzene or similar solvents. Again, how are any VOCs handled? Please describe how waste from these repairs, refittings etc. will be handled.

3) We have been told various numbers of trucks will be located in this garage, but at a minimum there will be 100 trucks leaving and returning daily, i.e. 200 events a day.  Much has been written about the harmful effects of diesel exhaust. It is important to note that the pollutants and particulates are at least 29 times more at a traffic light or generally when driving in low gear than when moving faster.

It appears the trucks will mainly be leaving from First Ave. and 26th St. and will be going slowly and often waiting for the light. The M15 bus and the M9 (the Ave. C. bus) are within feet of this corner. They bring many patients to Bellevue from the lower East Side.

I believe the trucks will be returning to this corner as well. How can there not be an ongoing cloud of diesel pollution at this location all day long. Would a private hospital allow this to happen to their patients? What about the many health care workers in this area? (Some recent research has shown that not just the heart and lung are affected by particulates but they may cause “silent strokes” and age the brain faster.)

4) The trucks are to be fueled at this garage. Exactly where will this happen? How will VOCs be handled? Exactly where are the fuel tanks to be located?

5) Has there been an independent traffic study of the probable impact of adding so many slow moving sanitation trucks to First and Second Avenue on a daily basis? Recently it took me 15 minutes in a cab to get from 23rd to 30th Street due to just a little digging in the street. Ambulances need these avenues to reach the emergency rooms of Beth Israel, the VA, Bellevue and NYU.

I have no doubt the sanitation drivers are caring and responsible but there is often nowhere for a bulky truck to pull over. What is your answer?  When you are older as I am, you are urged if you may have a stroke to get to an ER fast. Will that be possible in the future you see for us? Will I lose a few years of my life to the added air pollution this plan will bring to our neighborhood?

Thank you for your attention.

Joyce Ann Kent

2 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, June 25

  1. They should put this facility far away from where people live. What with the underground toxic waste from the old gas house plant and now this atrocity being built next door to us, why are paying high rents to live here? Isn’t Ken Langone protesting about his beloved “Health Corridor” (f/k/a “Bedpan Alley”) being polluted and sullied by this MTA horror? Maybe he figures it will drum up business for NYU Medical Center and speed up the demise of the much-despised elderly folk living in PCVST.

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