The city of New York has been working on community revitalization and redevelopment as part of its Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the larger OneNYC 2050 strategy. NYC is aiming for vibrant, diverse and walkable neighborhoods that are desirable to New Yorkers and new businesses. Remediating contaminated land and returning underutilized properties is part of the plan.
The New York City (NYC) Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) set a goal in 2019 to remediate and redevelop an additional 850 brownfield sites by the end of 2021; they accomplished 451, according to the January 2020 progress report. In Spring 2020, the OER delivered the largest clean soil transfer ever to a city agency—more than 40,000 cubic yards—which was used to construct two new parks, plant trees, and cover the site of a former city landfill. A few months later in June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded OER with $300,000 in new federal brownfield cleanup funds to be used to offset site cleanup costs in qualifying city neighborhoods. This is great progress towards their goal of safer places to live, work and play.
Environmental cleanup and brownfield sites aren’t limited to city boundaries.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) offers a number of site remedial programs, which are administered by the Division of Environmental Remediation (DER). NYSDEC policy DER-10 Technical Guidance for Site Investigation and Remediation provides guidance on how to conduct each of the investigative and remedial steps that should be undertaken at these types of sites. DER-10 also covers procedures that need to be employed at the site, including air monitoring during remediation activities.
During remediation, tiny particles can become suspended in the air from demolition, debris removal, earth-moving and other construction operations like crushing and traffic. It’s then possible for wind-born dust—fugitive emissions such as particulate matter (PM) or volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—to migrate off-site and cause respiratory irritation, illness or even premature death in sensitive individuals nearby.
DER-10’s guidance recommends the implementation of a Community Air Monitoring Plan (CAMP) to control the transfer of airborne contaminants and protect the downwind community. This plan must include real-time air monitoring for VOCs and PM10 at the upwind and downwind locations of the exclusion zone, as well as audible alarms in case of exceedances.
TSI’s DustTrak™ Environmental Monitor is flexible air monitoring solution that can be quickly deployed for DER-10 projects and help you stay vigilant even when you’re not on-site. This device features real-time, continuous data collection and compatibility with a variety of sensors to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gases, wind speed and more.