A 2 1/2 story tall mound of soil, described as backfill in the last two construction alerts (January 30 and February 13), has been uncovered on an ongoing basis since it was first created over two weeks ago. The mound is located in the staging area on block 1129 and continues to grow. The mound has a base of about 150 by 100 feet. The photo above on the left is the view from Vanderbilt Avenue toward the west. The photo to the right is the view south from the third story of a residential building on Dean Street.
Although the mound has never been covered, both construction alerts describe it as covered. They state, "the pile will be completely covered with filter fabric and additional measures will be used to prevent run off of soil onto Pacific Street." All stockpiled dry materials are required to be covered, water misted, or sprayed with non-hazardous suppression agent in the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (MEC).
In addition, the mound continues to grow without water spraying during the loading of dry materials as is required in the MEC. Regardless of the season, dust is a common by-product of construction at Atlantic Yards.
The description of the role of the mound appears to match a similar stockpile of soil located on block 1129 this summer. In the case of that pile, the soil came from the arena block, was sifted and then removed, apparently for use elsewhere on the project site. That pile was not covered for most of its lifespan, and watering rarely if ever took place with the dumping and sifting operations. Only a few days before the pile was removed it was finally covered with a green "slime."
Contractors may resist covering piles because they find the required mitigation slows down work if the pile is active. Likewise, if the material needs to remain dry, as is assumed to have been the case during the sifting operation this summer, then watering during loading and unloading is not possible either. In the winter spraying during loading may lead to freezing, making work more difficult and potentially more hazardous.
The repeated failure to comply with stockpiling protocols may suggest the mitigation to prevent dust from spreading from stockpiled materials as detailed in the MEC is not practical for contractors, and ESDC is not enforcing the requirement.
Construction equipment adds dirt to the top of the pile at 11:15 PM on February 14th. The photo was taken from the third floor of a residence on Dean Street. Residents nearby have complained about beeping and banging from construction equipment late at night and early in the morning in the staging area and in the railyard. Soil is brought from the railyard to the pile day and night. A recent report includes a noise complaint out of the staging area starting at 5:30 AM.
No watering takes place while soil is being added to the pile or during the redistribution of dirt. The dump trucks sometimes create a clamor when they shake to loosen the soil from the truck bed. These photos were taken February 3rd.
Early morning sun illuminates the pile February 18th. The photo is shot from the second floor of a residence on Dean Street.
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