Apparently during the 89 John Street Con Ed substation explosion and subsequent fire on April 29, collateral damage was done to surrounding cars parked on Plymouth Street. In addition, a few residents are concerned about the hazardous threshold level of PCB contamination as a result of the explosion and fire. The owner of the car damaged during the explosion (in the upper right corner of the photo above) sent us the following note:
We’re writing to warn you of potentially hazardous levels of PCB’s released during the April 29th fire at ConEd’s Farragut Substation in DUMBO/Vinegar Hill, which you reported on in an April 30th post.
Our car was parked directly opposite the Farragut Substation gate on Plymouth Street at the time of the fire. Its rear window was destroyed and the interior contaminated with transformer components, debris and soot as a result of the explosion and subsequent fire at the facility. Knowing that ConEd hazmat crews had tested the area for PCB’s in the wake of the fire (including our car), we requested a copy of the environmental testing report. After first ignoring repeated requests, ConEd finally released the report to us yesterday afternoon, Friday May 9.
The day after the fire, we were told by Sean Monaghan of the ConEd environmental department that our car was clean and that we could pick it up. When we asked what “clean” meant, he told us that it tested below 1 ppm (parts per million), which he said was ConEd’s threshold for hazardous PCB contamination. Not wishing to expose our 20-month-old son to ConEd’s ‘acceptable level’ of contamination without first seeing the test results, we did not pick up the car. As it turns out, according to the report, the interior of the car was never tested.
What is likely of primary concern to you and your neighbors is the data on page 5 of the attached report, which indicates that curbside water outside the gate tested at 3 ppm, triple ConEd’s stated hazardous threshold level of PCB contamination. We understand that this is the second fire at this facility in the last six months. Given the reckless disregard they’ve exhibited toward our family’s safety and the contempt with which they’ve treated us in their fire’s aftermath, we have little doubt this level of concern extends to the community at large. We thought you should know.
We’re not environmental experts, so we don’t want to comment on what this means. If anyone can speak to it, please chime in. The EPA’s “Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Site Revitalization Guidance Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)” document addresses clean up and disposal requirements for PCBs pcb-guid3-06.pdf (PDF).