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Preparing Deutsche Bank Bldg. for demolition


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Plan Unveiled for Cleanup of Building at 9/11 Site

By DAVID W. DUNLAP December 14, 2004

Before the shrouded Deutsche Bank tower opposite ground zero can be taken down, it must first be stripped to its structural bones; cleaned of materials that contain asbestos, World Trade Center dust and other potentially hazardous contaminants.

What that means is emptying 40 floors of ceiling tiles, gypsum wallboard, carpeting, sprayed-on fireproofing, fiberglass insulation, bathroom fixtures, built-in cabinetry. It includes taking down the netting that now covers large parts of the tower and erecting the crane that will be used in dismantling the steel framework.

It will also mean a journey back in time to Sept. 11, 2001, when the tower was pierced by a huge section of the collapsing 2 World Trade Center and filled with debris through 1,500 broken windows. Much of the building has remained largely untouched since then behind protective barriers.

Yesterday, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which now owns the tower, and the Gilbane Building Company, which has been hired to tear it down, released a draft plan for the first phase of deconstruction. It was distributed for comments to government regulators and Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan and was also to be posted on the corporation's Web site, www.renewnyc.com.

"We look forward to hearing the public's concerns," said Kevin M. Rampe, the president of the development corporation.

The plan calls first for the removal of dust and the collection of contaminated materials by workers in protective gear, beginning at the top of the building and working down, with four-floor sections of the tower isolated at any time under "negative pressure." Exhaust systems within these areas will make the air pressure lower than it is outside, so that if the protective barriers develop a leak, contaminated air will not be expelled.

Dust and contaminated materials are to be gathered with plastic shovels and dustpans, then placed into waste bags for disposal. The bags are to be at least 6 mils thick (garbage bags for kitchen use are typically about 1 mil or less). Items that cannot be bagged are to be wrapped in 6-mil plastic sheets.

No more than 30 cubic yards of waste can be stored on the site, and the plan notes that "continual waste transport for disposal will likely be necessary." Asbestos-containing materials are to be disposed of in a landfill, five of which are identified in the plan as possibilities. Four are in Pennsylvania: Newburgh, Imperial, Morrisville and Tullytown. The other is in Bridgeport, W.Va.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district includes much of Lower Manhattan, was attending a meeting of the state's electoral college delegation yesterday and had not yet reviewed the plan.

However, a spokeswoman, Eileen Larrabee, said on his behalf, "This is an urgent community concern, and the L.M.D.C. must establish a widespread system to provide vital emergency and evacuation information quickly and efficiently."

Amy Peterson, a senior vice president of the corporation, said that in events not severe enough for the Police and Fire Departments to take charge, neighbors would be notified through phone trees, e-mail messages, fliers and meetings.

From The New York Times

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