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Profile: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

 
  

Positions that The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has held:



 

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The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) actively participated in the following events:

 
  

September 12, 2001      Environmental Impact

       The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) begins monitoring ambient outdoor air for asbestos. [New York City Department of Health, 9/12/01] Couriers transport the air samples to laboratories, which immediately analyze them and obtain results within hours. [Jenkins, 7/15/2004] The samples are tested using the outdated polarized light microscopy (PLM) technology (see September 12, 2001) . [Kupferman, 2003]
People and organizations involved: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Environmental Protection Agency
          

September 14, 2001      Environmental Impact

       The New York City Department of Environmental Protection recommends in a memo to building owners in Lower Manhattan that they use the polarized light microscopy (PLM) method to determine the asbestos contamination level in their buildings instead of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) which is far more accurate (see November 20, 1990). [The Wall Street Journal, 5/9/2002]
People and organizations involved: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
          

September 16, 2001      Environmental Impact

       The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issues a public notice advising building owners and building maintenance managers located south of 14th Street to replace filters in air circulation systems and to run their systems on the recirculation mode until fires at the World Trade Center are extinguished. The agency also recommends that owners and managers contract professionals to test their buildings for the presence of asbestos and other hazardous materials prior to beginning cleanup by maintenance employees. If the presence of harmful contaminants are detected, they must telephone the DEP, where a staff employee will review each case and provide verbal approval. [New York City Department of Health, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
          

October 25, 2001      Environmental Impact

       The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) publishes a notice for residents of Lower Manhattan reassuring them that the DEP, in collaboration with other government agencies, is doing everything it can to protect public health. The agencies are taking samples of the air, dust, water, river sediments and drinking water and analyzing them for the presence of pollutants, the statement says, and comparing them to a variety of government “benchmarks, standards and guidelines.” The notice claims that current monitoring indicates that containment levels do not represent a significant threat to public health. [EPA, 10/25/01]
People and organizations involved: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
          

December 3, 2001      Environmental Impact

       After the New York City Department of Health tests Tribeca Tower at 105 Duane Street for asbestos and finds nothing, the building's residents contact Attorney Joel R Kupferman of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project (NYELJP) for assistance. Certified industrial hygienist, Ed Olmstead, collects dusts samples for Kupferman using a micro-vac. Analysis is conducted using the highly sensitive transmission electron microscope (TEM) method. The tests results reveal high concentrations of asbestos. A sample taken from a hallway ventilation duct that circulates air throughout the building is found to contain 550,000 structures of asbestos per square centimeter. When confronted with these results, the EPA claims the hygienist's testing method was unsound and that the results were an aberration. The landlord of the building, citing EPA and DEP assurances that the test results could be ignored, refuses to appropriately abate the building. [Kupferman, 2003; Jenkins, 12/3/2001; Salon, 8/15/2003; The Washington Post, 1/8/2002]
People and organizations involved: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Ed Olmstead, Environmental Protection Agency
          

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