Building on our efforts.
An unprecedented amount of construction is taking place in less than 1 square mile of Manhattan below Canal Street. Fifty eight office and residential buildings are going up, the majority of which will be completed in the next four to five years. Many of the buildings are over 50 stories tall. Included on the list of projects are 39 commercial and residential buildings currently under construction; eight buildings that are being renovated and six commercial and residential buildings soon to be under construction.
The goal of the Environmental Compliance Department is to reduce the amount of dust and particulate matter emanating from construction sites. The Department uses Environmental Performance Commitments (EPC's), an agreed-upon set of practices which concentrate on air quality, emissions and noise and vibration to ensure compliance among the stakeholders Downtown.
A team of inspectors from the LMCCC visits every construction site, checking for:
The use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel combined with diesel particulate filters on construction equipment such as cranes, excavators and generators.
Trucks that are idling longer than 3 minutes.
Dust control on sites through street cleaning, water misting and washing of construction vehicles
Equipment exhausts that should be steered away from outside air intakes on nearby buildings.
The team also relies on air monitoring stations, strategically placed around Lower Manhattan, to test for particulates in the air. They are equipped to take action when established limits of particulates are exceeded. Our efforts are paying off; in the last quarter of 2008, air quality in Lower Manhattan improved, meaning particulate matter in the air was below accepted levels.
When comparing the data from 2006 to 2008, it reflects a downward trend in concentrations for Lower Manhattan. Considering the possible health implications that pollution has in Lower Manhattan amidst an extensive reconstruction program, the data shows a reduction and promising air quality trend. The outlook for the 2009 is a continued downward trend and hopefully an ongoing improvement in Lower Manhattan air quality.
Inspectors work with each site to schedule construction activities during times when noise and vibration will have the least impact on the surrounding community and businesses. Each site is required to have a noise mitigation plan for construction activities. The team also helps facilitate the flow of pedestrians and traffic around construction sites by working with construction managers and the City and State Departments of Transportation.
In addition, our program emphasizes the use of energy efficient/renewable energy equipment on construction sites, such as solar. We also encourage construction sites to conserve, reuse, and recycle materials and resources and employ water conservation techniques.
The EPC program for Lower Manhattan could serve as a workable framework for executing large-scale complex construction programs in other urban environments, especially where mitigating air quality and other environmental impacts represent a real or perceived risk to the community. The open and transparent system for communicating with local stakeholders was an essential factor in establishing LMCCC's credibility with so many diverse projects with conflicting agendas.
The LMCCC, partly born out of the critical need to have an independent agent specifically responsible for overall EPC implementation, has been able to successfully use its authority and role as coordinator to achieve these objectives.
We, at the Command Center, believe that our work through this one-of-a-kind program is having a positive impact. We continue to experience high levels of cooperation among our construction partners. We feel we are 'greening' construction sites and equipment and that the people who live and work here are benefitting. The LMCCC holds regular meetings with the residential and business communities, keeping them up to date on construction activities.
The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) was established in 2005 to facilitate and coordinate activities of the various stakeholders in the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment and Reconstruction Program. The five-year $30-billion program is presently underway in an approximate 1 mile area of Manhattan south of Canal Street and is the largest concentration of construction in New York State. The master plan includes 60 construction projects, worth more than $25 million, including new residential and commercial buildings, public parks, transit stations and the World Trade Center site.
Information on the program can be found online at www.lowermanhattan. info.
By TOM KUNKEL, LMCCC