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Work begins on toxic Trump Village Shopping Center, residents fear for health

Toxic shock! Locals complain of odor, illegal work on contaminated Trump shopping center

Caught in the act: Contractors were supposed to stop work at 10 pm on April 12, but this photo taken at 10:30 pm that night shows workers still going at it. A Trump Village resident sent this paper the photo.
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They smelled something fishy.

Inspectors caught contractors at a controversial Brighton Beach development site working later than their city-issued permit allows, and now locals are worried the corner-cutting could put them in danger. Developer Cammeby’s International Group is building a 40-story tower over Trump Village Shopping Center, but the land used to be home to a gas plant, and National Grid must clean up the coal tar, mercury, and cyanide left behind before Cammeby’s can erect its condos.

State environmental honchos warned remediation work at the site near Neptune Avenue and W. Fifth Street would stink to high heaven, and one tipster said he whiffed the tell-tale odor when contractors were doing the illicit work earlier this week.

“They are working on the property, and they excavated the site, and fumes started coming out — you could smell the tar,” said a resident who shared photos on condition of anonymity.

Workers were digging a trench to run electrical wires for the soon-to-be construction site, but an inspector shut them down for working past their curfew on April 12, according to a spokesman from the Department of Environmental Conservation, which has oversight on the project.

“Our region two spills inspector stopped by the site for a visit around 10:30 pm,” said environmental engineer William Wu. “He noticed that they were working beyond the time allowed on the Department of Buildings permit, which was 10 pm, so he shut down the work for the night.”

Contractors are working at night to not interfere with deliveries to the shopping center, and safety is workers’ top priority, a Cammeby’s spokeswoman said.

“We are committed to ensuring that this project is carried out with maximum safety and minimal neighborhood disturbance. As with all of our projects, our top priority is the well-being of local residents, and we have the track record to prove it,” said Christa Segalini. “Ultimately, we look forward to improving the quality of life for all residents in the area by delivering an attractive, community-oriented shopping destination that serves the neighborhood’s needs.”

But neighbors contend they have repeatedly broken the rules.

“There’s no construction during the day, only the night, up until midnight, and the night before, they worked all night through,” said neighbor Alfia, who asked that her last name be withheld.

But the diggers haven’t gone deep enough to loose toxin-riddled sediment, according to an area pol.

“As far as I was told, they’re not going deep enough for that, but they’re putting in air monitors just in case because sometimes they don’t know what is in there,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Brighton Beach), whose office has received a dozen complaints about the construction site. “Safety of the surrounding people living there is most important.”

National Grid is responsible for cleaning up the site, because it acquired the company that polluted the land — Dangman Manufactured Gas. The utility must submit a remediation plan to the state before conducting the required cleanup, but it has not yet filed such a plan, Deutsch said.

Residents who smell suspicious odors or see late-night construction should call Deutsch’s office and 311, he said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 12:57 pm, April 15, 2016
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Reader feedback

Bruce from Coney Island says:
So National Grid is doing the work and breaking the rules.. doing the work. That makes me feel real good about them doing the site clean up...... not.

Bruce
April 15, 2016, 8:19 pm
am goodridge from crown heights/prospect heights says:
so why is CB13 had a town hall meeting to demand real input from longtime local residents instead of allowing greedy real estate developers to come & destroy their neighborhood.1 more illegal work & union busting/cheap labor without input from the community board & the residents/small business owners some residents have health problems, some residents fear it may get over-shadow & block sunlight we demand the community board , NYCDEP, NYSDEC & the elected/civic leaders to come together for a local & neighborhood town hall meetings so residents to get their voices hall because if they don't get their input, its an haven for gentrification/displacement & get priced out of southern brooklyn.
April 15, 2016, 8:59 pm
Anon from Brighton Beach says:
Its a question of money. The project costs over $400 million dollars. Its big business. Politicians have multiple incentives to keep a blind eye. Sure Treiger, Deutsch, and Stringer all showed their displeasure. Yet what did they do to stop this project or negotiate its gargantuan dimensions. Its obvious the DEC is enabling developers.
April 16, 2016, 5:07 pm
Marc from Sarasota says:
This was a major reason of my move away from my lifetime nieborhood W5th and Neptune. All of the meetings at LHS was a big show from the developers or should I say a joke from Chaim Deutch who screamed how he would never let this project begin and now they are doing whatever it takes to build this high rise and exposing the seniors in the area to the toxic fumes. He said there is a meter there to monitor the air quality..... Joke...

FLINT WATER HITS CONEY ISLAND CONSTRUCTION SITE headline like this couldn't stop the corrupt developer.
April 16, 2016, 6:07 pm
Mariana from Coney Island says:
my congress Man Marc Treyger says he will help but when I call his office they say they do not no anything! They tell me to call 311.
He is always good 4 smiling 4 the tv cameras and shouting but I don't see any results.
I wake up at nite from these noises in the street and my children cannt sleep also. This is not acceptable
This does not look like good 4 the future work
April 17, 2016, 11:54 am
Rita from Brighton Beach says:
Stringer promised to stop this and I did not see deblaso show up to meeting. I will not vote for deblasio
April 18, 2016, 2:04 pm

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