Second Avenue Subway construction ignites health concerns

September 27, 2011 02:23PM

Some Residents Near The Second Avenue Subway construction are complaining that the work is causing them to cough and forcing them to keep their windows shut and repeatedly sweep their apartments due to dust, DNAinfo reported.

Residents presented their complaints at a meeting of Community Board 8 last night, where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shared information from an air quality study it conducted at 10 locations between East 69th and East 87th streets.

According to the MTA’s preliminary findings, pollution from morning rush hour traffic should be a much greater source of concern than the construction, which recently completed its first phase (see video above). The MTA has hired Guido Schattanek, a senior environmental engineer at Parsons Brinckerhoff, to conduct an independent study of the dust particles from the excavation, blasting, demolition and diesel truck engines at the site.

The four-week study, that will collect 100,000 daily data points of particulate matter such as  silica, carbon dioxide and ammonia, began Sept. 11 and will last through Oct. 8. After roughly three weeks for analysis, a draft document will be sent to the MTA and other agencies and will be peer reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Data from the first week showed a peak of particles around between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., and a smaller peak around 4 p.m. when blasting was taking place. Several residents were not convinced by the preliminary findings, with one woman saying, “Your data looks good, but I’m going by my body. … I know that I’m coughing.” Bill Goodrich, senior vice president at MTA Capital Construction, told residents, “we have never believed nor do we believe at this time that we’re creating a health hazard to the residents, businesses and people in the area.” Schattanek said the study would indicate whether the MTA needed to hose the area with water more, and advised residents to use air conditioners and not to purposefully stick their head outside. [DNAinfo]