FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE02-29
Contact: Geoff Ryan
Building Cleanup Moves Ahead In Lower Manhattan
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) announced today that the Exterior Building Cleanup Program
in Lower Manhattan has met with considerable early success. Begun on June
7th, with significant support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA), this effort has shown mostly minimal presence of asbestos and other
contaminants from World Trade Center debris on the roofs and exteriors of
buildings in the downtown area.
The Exterior Building Cleanup Program is part of a federal, state and local
government effort to reassure the public that air quality in lower Manhattan
is, and will continue to be, safe for residents, workers and visitors. Commissioner
Ward said, "By instituting progressive initiatives such as the Exterior
Building Cleanup Program, we are working to promote public confidence and
help foster the resurgence of Lower Manhattan as a residential and business
community. Throughout the clean-up process, we have been able to proceed with
the unwavering support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency."
The Exterior Building Cleanup Program is entirely funded by a $10.1 million
grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, through the FEMA/State
of New York Public Assistance Program. President Bush authorized FEMA to pay
the full cost of the clean-up program following the declaration of disaster
in Lower Manhattan after September 11th. FEMA is also funding the EPA's interior
cleanup of residential apartments in Lower Manhattan.
"Our aim is a safe and secure environment in lower Manhattan for the
millions of residents, workers and visitors who spend time there," said
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "Supporting the city's efforts to reduce
and eliminate any possible harmful effects caused by the continued presence
of this material is FEMA's goal."
Under the Exterior Building Cleanup Program, building owners whose properties
have been identified as having World Trade Center debris are eligible to have
the debris removed by licensed asbestos contractors at no cost. To date, more
than 1,000 buildings in the downtown area have been inspected by DEP specialists.
Three quarters of the buildings inspected have shown no evidence of debris.
Of those upon which debris has been identified, 81 buildings have been cleaned
to date, and an additional 56 buildings are either in the process of being
cleaned or have been scheduled for future cleanup. Apart from the DEP-FEMA
program, 60 buildings have been cleaned independently by building owners.
A small number of buildings south of Canal Street remain to be scheduled for
People interested in more information about the Exterior Building Clean-up
Program may contact DEP at (718) DEP-HELP. This program is separate from the
indoors residential clean-up program administered by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). For information on the indoor program, interested
parties may call the EPA's hotline at 1-877-796-5471.