Deutsche Bank cleanup work to begin in August


By Ronda Kaysen

One of the final relics of the World Trade Center disaster may soon meet its fate.

A cleanup and deconstruction plan was released this week for the shrouded building at 130 Liberty St., which stands damaged and contaminated at the southern edge of the W.T.C. site, a looming reminder of what happened there nearly four years ago. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation owns the building and will coordinate the painstaking cleanup process, which will cost the corporation as much as $45 million.

“We feel very confident that the regulators will approve the plan and we can start work this summer,” said Amy Peterson, a senior vice president for the corporation, at a June 6 presentation of the revised cleanup plan for Community Board 1. Peterson expects to receive approval within four to six weeks.

But the Environmental Protection Agency, the lead regulator for the project, has yet to receive some components of the plan – including the asbestos abatement and removal plan, which the L.M.D.C. promised to deliver in the coming days – and has not given the corporation a green light. “We are still reviewing the parts that we do have and we haven’t signed off on them yet,” said Mary Mears, an agency spokesperson. “They did make some of the changes that we asked for, but we have to do a careful review with the regulators.” E.P.A. rejected the original draft of the cleanup plan last January, calling for a more thorough and extensive cleanup process.

Mears did not indicate how long this round of reviews might take. “We want to expedite it, but we want to make sure we do a thorough review.”

According to L.M.D.C.’s revised plan, the building will first be enclosed in scaffolding covered with a layer of netting. As the scaffolding climbs the building’s 40 stories, the old netting will be removed. The corporation opened a bidding process for scaffolding contractors this week and will award a contract on July 1.

Washington St. will be closed while the scaffolding is erected, but the L.M.D.C. anticipates minimal impact on Greenwich and Albany Sts. The Liberty St. pedestrian walkway and bridge will remain open.

The first phase — the abatement phase — of the two-phase process will begin in August. Workers will use part of the building’s skin to create a negative pressure container within the building. From 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., five days a week, a team of 40 workers working several floors at a time, will clean and dispose of all porous materials such as ceiling tiles, sheetrock and carpeting. “We needed to treat everything in the building as if it is contaminated with asbestos,” said Peterson. Non-porous materials, such as steel sheeting, may be preserved, when possible.

Workers, trained before the work begins, will be covered from head to toe and equipped with full-face respirators to protect their lungs from the toxins. As they leave the contaminated area, they will enter a decontamination zone to shower and change.

A hoist, located on Albany St., will carry all cleaned workers and decontaminated materials in and out of the building. “It’s all controlled descent and ascent,” Lois Mendes, the L.M.D.C.’s newly appointed construction director told Downtown Express after the meeting. Contaminated material will be cleaned, decontaminated, double-bagged and sealed in a six-sided container before it leaves the building.

The building’s interior will leave Lower Manhattan in container trucks, 10 to 15 of them a day, loaded on Washington St., and traveling along Cedar St. to the West Side Highway.

By November, the demolition phase will begin. (The L.M.D.C. will open the bidding process for the demolition next week, and expects to award a contract by August.) A crane, located on the north side of the building and enclosed with fencing, will carry the building’s exterior down, loading it into 20 trucks a day that will follow the same path out of the area that the phase one trucks followed. At the height of the second phase, as many as 100 workers, following the same work schedule as in phase one, will dismantle the tower floor by floor. “It will be a slow, slow process,” said Mendes.

Air monitors will be located at street level, atop the building and within. If a monitor hits a “trigger level,” work will stop until the issue is resolved. Air monitoring data will be available on the L.M.D.C.’s Web site, www.renewnyc.com/130Liberty.

With the assistance of several city agencies including the police and fire departments, the L.M.D.C. created a draft of a community notification plan. In case of an emergency, onsite personnel (and anyone else who witnesses an emergency) are advised to call 911. According to the community plan, the L.M.D.C. will post flyers throughout the community, e-mail incident alerts and e-updates to a 130 Liberty St. list serve, hold periodic community briefings and provide a recorded toll-free information hotline, (646) 942-0694.

By early 2007, the imposing tower will have vanished from Liberty St. A small park, a Greek Orthodox church and Tower 5 of the new World Trade Center complex will eventually take its place.


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