Take 2 minutes to ask for an open air monitoring system in Thomas Greene park and St. Mary's Park

Thomas Greene Park on Nevins Street and the blocks surrounding it were built on top of a former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP). The soil underneath these blocks is extremely toxic. Though part of the site will be remediated under NY State supervision before residential construction can begin, there is real potential for cancer causing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other toxins to become airborne affecting those of us who use the Park and Double D Pool.

On June 28th, the members of the community who are on the Gowanus Community Advisory Committee (CAG) unanimously passed a Resolution asking for air monitoring equipment to be placed inside Thomas Greene Park since it is used by many members of our community, especially those with young children. (Link to CAG resolution

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has agreed to install air monitors around specific construction sites adjoining the Park and Double D Pool, but since there are numerous other sites that will be under construction at various times, we need and should have constant air monitoring within the Park and Pool areas to collect samples and alert us to when the air quality becomes unsafe.

We, in the Voice of Gowanus, are concerned that DEC’s response is not enough. 

Since EPA is responsible for the clean up of the toxic mess under Thomas Greene Park, help us in calling on EPA to install the equipment desperately needed to insure that the air quality within Park is safe. Additionally, we are asking for air monitoring equipment to be installed inside of St. Mary’s Park and Playground since it is directly across the street to another toxic former MGP site. 

No governmental agency responded in a timely manner back in May

Keep in mind that no governmental agency responded in a timely manner back in May when numerous sites along the Gowanus Canal had pile driving on them releasing toxic fumes into the surrounding neighborhood. The workers on these sites were not protected nor were the residents living near these sites. The community was outraged by the lack of warning, especially those of us who were using the nearby parks with our children. 

Call on the EPA to create an open, transparent network of air quality monitors within our parks where any concerned neighbor can check on the air quality at any time.

We need air monitoring systems that not only share real time information to responsible agencies and private construction crews but also notifies the surrounding community. We need to be able to hear the alarm bells when they’re ringing too when we smell the coal tar and other toxins off-gassing. There will be numerous construction sites adjacent to Thomas Greene Park and St. Mary’s Park and Playground and we need to be proactive in making sure protections to the community are in place. To be clear, it’s not just the Gowanus Canal that’s a Superfund site, the land on both sides are just as polluted and so will be the air during immense construction.

As NYers, we believe in safety-in-numbers.

If you see or smell something, say something. We must ensure safety to all and especially for our children who play in these parks on a daily basis. 

We need your voice.

Can you please take 2 minutes to ask for an open air monitoring system in Thomas Greene park and St Mary’s Park? 

Please call or email Ms Garcia, our new Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the following message:

  1. We urgently request that you to install open, accessible air monitoring equipment at Thomas Greene and St Mary’s Park to ensure the health and safety of our community with systems to measure and alert us when VOCs are above safe levels.
  2. The Community demands a proper sequence of events throughout the clean up of Public Place and the other two MGP sites along the Gowanus Canal. The canal will never be clean unless the land and air are also cleaned with full transparency.

Ms. Garcia can be contacted by phone at: 212-637-5000 

and please follow up by emailing Ms. Garcia at: [email protected]

Please share this with your friends, neighbors, and local elected officials.

Thank you! Voice of Gowanus