Questions for the DEC

The failure for the DEC to remediate toxic sites in strict compliance with NYS laws has caused the toxic hazards that now require a massive Soil Vapor Intrusion study.  This is unforgivable, irresponsible, unacceptable, and outrageous. 

Voice of Gowanus have continued to warn about this public health crisis and yet they continue to fall on deaf ears. We need you to show up tomorrow and use your voice! Here are some potential questions to consider asking:

SVI testing for toxic chemicals inside existing buildings

  • Why isn't the entire SVI study area being investigated in one fell swoop?
  • Why are you not investigating all of the homes, schools, and businesses within the entire SVI study area on a comprehensive and timely basis?
  • Why is the apartment complex where the meeting is being held excluded from the SVI study area even though it is perilously close to the Gowanus Canal NPL site and numerous other toxic sites? 
  • How many buildings have been tested?
  • When will you share with the community the results?
  • Will the results must be posted publicly?  Everything related to the SVI study must be open and transparent. 
  • Since government has zero credibility when it comes to protecting public health and the environment, will you share where the pollution is and who is impacted?
  • Why types of testing are they doing? 
  • Are they testing just vapors in the buildings or are they taking core sampling from under foundations?
  • What are the risks to health?

Tenant rights 

  • Why are property owners allowed to avoid the investigation.  Access to all properties must be required in order to safeguard public health. 
  • with regard to testing and results, what are tenant’s rights to that information? 
  • who much transparency is there for tenants? 
  • Isn’t it important on an Environmental Justice issue that not only are current tenants more protected but also future tenants who may be unknowingly living on polluted soil? 

Vapor intrusion barriers

  • How do we know Vapor Intrusion barriers under buildings will be thoroughly effective? 
  • Are there studies to support that they will last in a flood plain at sea level?
  • What happens to off-gassing pollution under wet ground when it’s trapped?
  • We demand that all the homes, schools, buildings, businesses within 1,000 feet of every Brownfield, Superfund, Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal site in the entire Gowanus Canal Community SVI study area must be investigated within one year.  If properties on the edge of that SVI investigation area are found to be contaminated, the study area must be extended another 1,000 feet.

Regarding Recent floods

we’ve had at least 2 significant floods in the last 6 months

  • what should you do if you walk through flooded water?
  • Have we tested flood water for TCE’s? 
  • Are we also testing the water and ground inside and below the buildings after it floods? 
  • Why has there been more CSO in the canal this past year ? 

Climate Change

  • How high on your priority list are flood prevention? 
  • Do you agree that Gowanus is on the front lines of Climate Change?
  • How do we know increased flooding and the rising water table won't cause widespread and unforeseen migration of coal tar and other chemicals ? 
  • Who is the biggest Primary Responsible Polluter (PRP) in Gowanus?
  • Do you believe that they played in a role in Climate change?
  • Since this was missing in the EIS, what are the risks of rising sea tides and toxic land combined?
  • Should we review the EIS and make sure it covers all of the risks of climate change?

Remediation requirements

  • Why are toxic polluters allowed to avoid cleaning up the Gowanus Canal? 
  • Are all abutting brownfield developments being required to have coal tar collection tanks ?
  • Why is it acceptable to leave 140 feet of cancer-causing coal tar at Public Place under future low-income housing and a school?
  • This is scandalous, pure corruption. Children today and in the future must be protected.  The most vulnerable in the community must be protected. 

Where is it safe to live? 

  • How do we know where is safe to live in Gowanus?
  • What are the risks to current and future residents from increased CSO in the Canal?
  • What about the rising water table and increased flooding? How does it move toxins around the neighborhood?
  • When the Dredgers boathouse is under water like it was this week what are the health hazards?
  • What rights do rental tenants have to have their indoor air tested ?
  • What is the liability for New York State residents if the Gowanus Brownfield site remedies fail ?
  • When there's street flooding, as there was this month at the Dredgers Boathouse is there a health hazard ?