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After weeks of our phone calls and emails, we were finally able to speak with someone at the DEP in person.

We contacted Penny Theodorellys of the DEP, and she said that the contractor had been issued several violations regarding the asbestos removal:

-One for not covering the area/roof where they were working.
-One for not using enough Wet Methods in their operations (which I guess contains the asbestos).
-One for not bagging the material properly on site.

There will be an upcoming hearing, which unfortunately (and strangely) the public is not allowed to attend, and beyond this they are not officially bound to let me/us know the results of the hearing or if the fines actually get issued. However, she said I can fill out a freedom-of-information act form (F.O.I.L.) in the future to get more of the results and photos of their investigation.

We have emailed her our photos, even though she said they cannot be entered as evidence or used in the hearing. We hope though, that since the photos are a view from above, they will help, and give the inspectors more of an idea of the real scope and hugeness of the work that was being done and why it possibly put the community at risk.

The roofing material in the photos, for your information, did test positive for asbestos (some had remarked that the color was not consistent with asbestos.)

It is frustrating that there is no way to get a professional assessment of what the risks were to our health, to have such huge amounts of asbestos left open and exposed (on windy days, no less). No one at the DEP can answer our questions on this, and there is no protocol or forum to answer a community's questions on a matter like this. It is very sad that it took so many weeks to get confirmation of the violations from an official source of what we were seeing. These violations were issued on March 30th, 2005, and yet we could not get through to a DEP person directly for three weeks, and 311 gave conflicting answers every time we called to check on the complaints we had filed. On top of that, there was no system via the DEP to secure the asbestos and make conditions more safe over the weeks that followed, after the violations were issued, so we continued to be exposed to this. Our calls to get help went out into the abyss of 311.

More info and updates to come! Please get on our email list at to receive updates about this and many other community-related issues.

Sincerely -

Rebecca Moore,

 We have joined forces with The Lower East Side Residents Coalition, and we support the work of The Committee for Zoning Inaction and the work they are doing on East 3rd street. L.O.C.O. seeks to be an umbrella organization for as many groups as possible on the Lower East Side, whose work and struggles are affected by issues of gentrification, in order to join all of those voices into one strong voice that cannot be ignored. We would welcome your group joining with us and participating!
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