Big tent will house Trump Village toxic clean-up — but it will still smell

Big tent will house Trump Village toxic clean-up  — but it will still smell
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

This toxic clean-up is gonna be in-tents!

Workers will erect a temporary, tent-like structure equipped with high-powered ventilation to keep clouds of polluted dust from covering Brighton Beach when they clean the land beneath the Trump Village Shopping Center early next year. The short-term edifice is so serious, it will require permits from the Department of Buildings, a rep from the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

“We’re doing this inside a building that has an over-designed air-treatment system — the structure is designed to support heavy snow loads. It’s a temporary building that meets building codes,” said engineering geologist Gardiner Cross.

Utility company National Grid, under state oversight, plans to excavate enough toxic dirt to fill up two Olympic-sized swimming pools from the lot near the corner of Neptune Avenue and W. Fifth Street before developers can build a new retail center and 41-story tower there.

A gas-manufacturing plant occupied the site at the turn of the 20th century, leaving the land laden with coal tar, cyanide, and a host of nasty stuff.

Officials plan to start excavation in January, when frigid air keeps foul smells at bay and most people don’t leave their windows open, but even with the cold air and the tent, neighbors may smell something funky once work begins, Cross said. A little stank is par for the course, but dangerous levels of airborne toxicants would make the nabe smell so bad that it would be impossible to miss them and not sound the alarm before someone gets hurt, he said.

“The thing to remember is it stinks to high heaven. It smells really bad, so it’s hard to get exposed to a dangerous level,” Cross said.

Plus there will be inspectors on site whose sole job is to keep their noses to the ground and stop work if things get dangerous, he said.

Cross is encouraging locals to drop a dime if the reek gets out of hand.

“You will occasionally get a whiff of something very, very briefly. We’re not blowing smoke when we say, ‘Tell us if you smell something.’ We got a pretty good track record of keeping people happy.”

National Grid Trump Village Shopping Center remediation hotline (718) 403–3014.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.