So, what does Empire State Development, the state agency in charge of Atlantic Yards, have to say about the massive pile of uncovered dirt on Block 1129, the southeast block of the project site, identified by Atlantic Yards Watch?
I got a response that seemed, from the syntax, to have been prepared by Forest City Ratner and simply passed on by the state agency:
In accordance with the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments [p. 19], section N, Part 4, subpart (a), item (iv), we have maintained dust control of the soil stockpile at block 1129 via water misting. Due to the favorable ambient weather conditions only a periodic misting has been required. Dust monitoring has been in place, as it always is, and no monitors showed any dust events during this period, nor did our on-site OEM [Office of Environmental Monitor] personnel witness any dust events during this period. When the construction of the stockpile is complete it remains the intention of the contractors involved to switch to a cover as means of dust control until the soil is utilized for backfill.What about the cover?
Even if we take that at face value, given that AYW reports that dust is a common by-product of construction, what to make of the promises in the last two two-week Construction Alerts, beginning with the week of January 30:
In order to work more efficiently within the Yard, we will stockpile excess soil required for
backfilling the site in our lay down area adjacent to Pacific St in block 1129. The pile will be
completely covered with filter fabric and additional measures will be used to prevent run off of soil into Pacific St. We expect the soil, which is non-hazardous, to remain in place until mid-April.
The two-week alert is supposed to be a look ahead to what the developer and its contractors will be doing over that period.
Nothing in the document suggests that the pile "will eventually be completely covered with filter fabric" at some later date--that date being last night, as shown in the Atlantic Yards Watch photo at left.
From Atlantic Yards Watch
Peter Krashes of Atlantic Yards Watch writes:
More than three weeks after it was created, a mountain of dirt the last two construction updates stated "will be completely covered" was finally covered last night.He also questions the developer's ccount of water misting and air monitoring.
The lack of covering has been a real concern to nearby residents because of the hazard dust will migrate from the stockpiled material. Dust did blow from a similar pile over the summer. Winter weather conditions, especially this winter, are erratic and do not reliably suppress dust.