Dust Is Unsettling at Bulova Site

As work progresses, some complain of asthma-like symptoms, legislator says
Blasting has begun, resulting in dust being dispersed from windows of the former Bulova watchcase factory in Sag Harbor.
Blasting has begun, resulting in dust being dispersed from windows of the former Bulova watchcase factory in Sag Harbor. Carrie Ann Salvi

    Since workers have begun gutting the former Bulova watchcase factory, plumes of dust have been emanating from the building, drawing complaints from a number of Sag Harbor residents. The dust is a result of the resurfacing of interior support beams on all floors, as well as the grinding of brick mortar, according to Larry Perrine, a member of the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board, who has been acting as a liaison between the community and Cape Advisors, the developer.
    Mr. Perrine said at Tuesday’s planning board meeting that there was an attempt to board up the rooms, but that a significant amount of the dust was still escaping. He was scheduled to meet yesterday with Timothy Platt, the village’s building inspector, to further discuss the issue.
    County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who has an office down the street from Bulova, is also concerned. He was contacted by Joan Baren, a resident, who said that some people living near the site have been experiencing asthmatic-type respiratory issues, and have also reported having a metallic taste in their mouths.
    Mr. Schneiderman said that there were four complaints filed with the village that he was aware of. He walked the perimeter of the site, he said, and videotaped large clouds of visible debris particulates that he assumed to be concrete dust coming out of openings along Route 114, and sawdust coming out on the opposite side of the building. He then toured the site with Mr. Perrine and Mr. Platt, and noticed that the grinders being used did not have vacuum bags attached to them, but that the workers were wearing full respiratory protection gear.
    “I don’t want to be alarmist,” he said, “but I do not want a public health issue.”
    “The vibrations and the noise I can live with,” Mr. Schneiderman said.
    Mr. Schneiderman contacted several state and county agencies to notify them of the residents’ concerns.
    According to Aphrodite Montalvo, a citizen participation specialist at the State Department of Environmental Conservation, as part of the remediation plan from the site’s former Superfund status, “air monitoring in place [at Bulova] does take air readings every 15 minutes during the workday and the results of that monitoring is currently being analyzed.”
    Since January, when Mr. Perrine accepted the liaison position, to be held through the end of April, he said that the first concerns heard were about limited short-term parking, and fears that construction would block, and workers would use, the few spaces that exist. It was suggested that some of the long-term parking be made short-term to accommodate shoppers, and Mr. Perrine took the feedback to the attention of the village board.
    Mayor Brian Gilbride said that the board would consider adjusting parking regulations if they became a problem.
    Another issue Mr. Perrine was asked to handle was the temporary construction of a retaining wall on Sage and Church Streets, which caused significant vibrations for a few weeks, felt in surrounding residences. Citizens were also concerned about potential damage to their properties. Mr. Perrine said that Cape Advisors “stepped up to the plate” and made adjustments that lessened the vibration. The company also signed a legal agreement to be held responsible should any property damage occur.
 


Comments

Why was construction ever given the go ahead for this behemoth anyway? As far as I can remember, the site was considered toxic twenty years ago. It would be ridiculous to think that the passage of time had eradicated the poisons contained in and around this antiquated factory site. After thirty or forty years of living in this building, I wonder how many chronic conditions residents will suffer due to continuous exposure to hazardous chemicals?
"does take air readings every 15 minutes during the workday and the results of that monitoring is currently being analyzed.” If indeed the neighbors are experiencing a metallic taste in their mouths, I bet you 10 to 1 it's either lead or mercury when results are analyzed. Just wonderful stuff to be exposed to.
This site was allegedly cleaned up and various toxins removed. Its unfortuante if that effort was not done completely. I'm not sure if this would have been less toxic but they probably should have just torn down the whole complex and started from scratch.