Debate Over Proposed Seaport Brownfield Remediation

Re: “Don’t-Drink-the-Water Street” (BroadsheetDAILY Jan. 30, 2019)
To the editor:
Residents in the neighborhood are resisting by making their objections known to allowing the Seaport 250 Water LLC, an entity owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), to begin brownfield remediation on the property they designate as 250 Water Street (aka 304 Pearl Street).
HHC’s historical relationship with the Seaport and its vague and misleading statements in the application can only be construed as duplicitous. It is premature to allow the site to be opened for remediation when there is no currently approved plan for development of the site.
The history of this site is that it is now toxic because of prior industrial activity, leaving heavy metals and toxic chemicals in the soil. However, the asphalt of the parking lot has covered the site for over 50 years. Leaving the site undisturbed is the best course of action until there is an approved developmental plan.
Adrienne Sosin
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To the editor:
My son attends Prek-K at the Peck Slip School, which is directly adjacent to the development site. Please don’t put my child and every other child’s health at risk with this development for the sake of economic development.
This site is no place for any cleanup of toxic chemicals. Don’t make this another Flint, MI, when we can avoid it now!!!
Tom S.
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Howard Hughes Corporation’s response
To the editor:
The Howard Hughes Corporation is committed to thoughtful and responsible planning at 250 Water Street, and considers the concerns of our neighbors and the community with full respect.
The conscientious approach we have undertaken from the outset includes voluntary application of the project into the New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), an extremely rigorous regulatory program designed to actively engage the community in the cleanup process and to protect public health and the environment during and after cleanup.
The BCP involves working hand-in-hand with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH), the agencies that oversee the BCP investigation and remediation process.
The 250 Water Street site has been historically developed and redeveloped since the 1800s, and has included industrial and manufacturing operations, with subsurface conditions reflecting this type of use. These conditions are consistent with many hundreds of other formerly industrial development sites across New York City.
In fact, 363 brownfield sites statewide, with over 100 located in New York City, have been successfully cleaned under the State’s program, with those properties subsequently repurposed for residential and commercial uses. Under the BCP at 250 Water Street, a thorough investigation will be performed to further understand the nature and extent of conditions at the site. After which a customized cleanup program will be developed and presented to the community. This program will provide protection of site workers and all community members, including nearby schools and residents, and ensure that surrounding properties and any future development on the site are safe to occupy.
For this important cleanup effort, The Howard Hughes Corporation has engaged Langan Engineering, Environmental, Surveying, Landscape Architecture and Geology, D.P.C., an expert firm with extensive NYC experience in implementing the Brownfield Cleanup Program, including in areas within close proximity to residential buildings, schools and other public facilities. We will continue to work closely with Community Board 1, our elected officials and all local stakeholders, as well as with NYS DEC and NYS DOH, to engage the community throughout the Brownfield Cleanup Program, and keep all informed with accurate and timely information.
Saul Scherl 
President of the New York Tri-State Region

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