(39th in a series on Martin Tower)
Martin Tower demolition May 19
Thursday, May 9, 6PM
Nitschmann Middle School
10PM. Do you know where your children are?
Do you know where Gadfly is? About to spend two hours before Rachel comes on burning-the-near-midnight-oil bouncing around on the web.
And he’ll share here his pilgrimage with you just like Ron Yoshida did his. (I’m still in awe, Ron!)
There are many examples on the web of materials cities have prepared for their citizens regarding implosions. We learned at Council last night that Bethlehem will distribute a packet at Thursday’s meeting.
Here we go.
“Explosion / Implosion
The most efficient of all commercial demolition methods is explosion or implosion, but it’s typically only suitable when mechanical demolition and deconstruction aren’t an option. There are public health concerns with this type of demolition, including environmental issues, damage to adjacent structures, flying debris, air quality concerns, noise, and more.”
“When used, this is typically the least expensive commercial demolition method.”
“Hometown Demolition aims to be the simplest way to find and hire the right contractor for demolition anywhere in the USA.”
Were the primary options of “mechanical demolition and deconstruction” ruled out in our case? Or was the implosion option chosen because it cost the developer less, even though “there are public health concerns”?
“Any residents and business personnel required to be in the exclusion zone (see map below) during the time of the demolition event are directed to stay indoors and shelter in place. Noise/sound pressure levels and lingering dust may pose a safety risk to citizens. All doors, windows and entry ways are to be kept closed and exhaust fans turned off.”
“Can I come out when the blast is over?
The demolition is expected to last no more than five minutes. However, the falling debris is expected to produce a dust cloud that, with wind, can travel outside of the immediate area and last much longer. It is critical for all to remain indoors and shelter in place until access notification is provided via JSO.”
“Am I in danger if I come out prior to notification?
Months of comprehensive work has been conducted to ready the building for implosion, including the remediation and removal of hazardous interior materials. However, to minimize health risks and threats to persons–especially those with breathing and/or respiratory conditions–everyone is advised to remain indoors and shelter in place until notification is provided. In addition, noise and sound pressure levels at and near the site during the blast may pose a threat to hearing, reaffirming the critical need to shelter in place.”
Gadfly was caught by surprise by hearing last night about “exclusion zone” and “restricted zone.” What does that mean? So he went looking. Here’s an example in Jacksonville. Seems a pretty big zone, actually. And people within it are “sheltering in place.” Awesome term. Jacksonville is frank about safety: “Noise/sound pressure levels and lingering dust may pose a safety risk to citizens.” The phrase “critical need” is not soft. And — bottom line — perhaps people are put through this implosion trouble and maybe implosion risk because it may be a cheaper method for the developer?????? Will Bethlehem be frank about safety in its packet?
3) Go back to the web site above in 2) and look at the first commenter:
“That dust cloud is mainly respirable silica with a little Aspergillus and heavy metals mixed in. Notice the guy drilling the holes. By law he has to take a class which teaches him the dangers of silica. Then he has to wear a respirator and a moon suit to prevent exposure to the dust and he has to get annual health checkups. The City wants you believe that magically the implosion some how magically turns this dangerous substance into something innocent and non harmful. There are thousands and thousand of cases of cancer from a one time exposure to the silica dust from the WTC collapse. What makes it even worse is that they aren’t planning on cleaning the roofs of the adjacent buildings so that hazardous material will be blowing around the city for weeks if not months. . . . [possibility of a rain storm] That creates an even bigger problem. What happens when you add water to a bag of concrete? The same thing happens to the concrete dust after and implosion. They use water to clean up the dust. It mixes and washes down the storm drains where guess what? It becomes concrete again and clogs everything up.”
Tsk, nasty CAVE person in Jacksonville. We learned last night that our City has received many resident responses. But why is the comment function on www.martintowerbethlehem.com “disabled,” so 1) there is no public record of what the responses are and 2) so people do not know what others are saying — and, most importantly, 3) so people cannot learn from each other and 4) perhaps organize with each other? Why can’t we see what our fellow citizens are saying?
4) Go back again to #2 where people in the exclusion zone “are directed to stay indoors and shelter in place.” Now go to www.martintowerbethlehem.com the Bethlehem FAQ and look at #6 where the question is “Should residents stay indoors during the implosion and, if so, for how long?”
First, that question is not answered in the answer. We are not directly told if residents should stay indoors, and, if so, for how long. Not told. Not answered. Second, at the very end of the answer we ARE told that if you are dust-aggravated, you should stay indoors, and thus, by implication, if you are not dust-aggravated, you can be outdoors. Nice. So in Jacksonville, they want you to stay indoors — it’s critical that you do so — but in Bethlehem, it’s ok to be outdoors. Riddle me that, Batman.
The debate over dust. That nasty stuff.
“Dust would be created via every possible demolition method, and here is why implosion is the preferred method:
— The implosion event is scheduled, immediate, and short-lived (around 8 seconds) – all of which afford the opportunity for planning to minimize impacts to the community and onsite workers.
— Mechanical demolition occurs over weeks or months, and dust generation would be expected to occur over a much longer time, making planning to minimize exposure more difficult and less practical.”
Now here’s a rebuttal to #1 above. The claim here looks like implosion is healthier. So whom do we believe? How do we judge?
There are two types of dust – heavy particulates and light particulates.
— Heavy particulate dust is not expected to stray more than 200 feet from the base of the towers and should clear in approximately 5 minutes.
— Based on historic NOAA Climatic Wind Data, lighter dust is expected to clear the site in a matter of minutes traveling southeast over Mount Hope Bay towards Fall River and dissipating before reaching the far shore.
I realize that I don’t know about this dust. Is it only dangerous when it is in the air? There is no danger when it is on the ground? Does it eventually just go away, just disappear? Poof. And is it a good thing — in the big picture, I mean — if it blows away from “us” only to fall on someone else somewhere else? And is it ok if it falls on water instead of us? I just don’t know. Good exam questions for a course in Moral Philosophy.
Q: Have there been any problems in residential areas where this has been done?
A: Dust is an unpreventable byproduct of all types of demolition. Depending on wind speed and direction on the day of the implosion, the dust may or may not reach your properties.
Now go to the Bethlehem FAQ #6:
A: Dust is an unpreventable byproduct of all types of demolition. . . . Depending on wind speed and direction on the day of the implosion, the dust may or may not reach your properties.
It gradually occurred to me that as I was reading around, jumping from here to there and back online, I was hearing the same language. Here above is an example of what the man before the man became Gadfly would call plagiarism. Verboten. But the bigger problem is the possibility that these FAQs are made up mainly of boiler plate language, which, though it may innocently save time for the City official charged with creating the FAQ document, could also indicate a propensity for City officials to stop thinking for themselves. Plagiarism is a mark of laziness, a lack of original thinking.
Ok, I’ve had it. Rachel is on. I’m sure Trumpworld will be less complex.
I think we’d better get our butts to the meeting tomorrow — er, tonight! With our Gadfly glands well oiled.