Feds: Toll Brothers “could have put people in peril” at Gowanus development site

TRD New York /
Jun.June 02, 2011 10:36 AM

Two of the biggest Gowanus Canal polluters are real estate development sites where remediation efforts failed, according to Environmental Protection Agency officials working on the Superfund cleanup at the canal.

One of them, the Daily News reported, is the 363-365 Bond Street site on which Toll Brothers had once planned to build 460 condos and townhouses. The developer, which was supposed to clean up the site before breaking ground, abandoned the project when the Gowanus gained Superfund status last year. (Toll had actively campaigned against the designation, arguing that it would render the development site unmarketable).

According to the EPA, it’s a good thing it did, because new investigations there have since found carcinogenic poly-aromatic hydrocarbons and other potentially harmful chemicals are present in the ground, and Toll Brothers would have never known about it because “the investigation they had done at the site was inadequate.”

Toll Vice President David Von Spreckelson called the allegations “preposterous,” but the EPA project manager on the job now alleges that “they could have put people in peril.”

Meanwhile, at a seven-year-old Lowe’s store that sits on the site of a former manufactured gas plant on Second Avenue, a black, tar-like substance is still leaking into the canal despite a state-monitored cleanup that the Department of Environmental Conservation had declared finished before the store opened in 2004. Now, the EPA is saying that the state and the developers didn’t look hard enough for the pollution. [NYDN]

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