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Village Hall Delays Release of Toxic Data

Patch logo Patch 9/19/2018 Brer Abbott
a dog lying on top of a car © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

BRONXVILLE, NY — As a Bronxville Village parent, I was puzzled last Halloween Night when I saw a fleet of trucks from Green Mountain Pipeline Services pull up in front of the Bronxville School. Men in hardhats set to work opening manhole covers along Pondfield. Traffic weaved into the opposing lane to get around the rumbling trucks, unaided by the police. Children in costumes hurried past this pop-up industrial operation, often holding their noses, because the air reeked of what smelled like model airplane glue.

"Say — is this an emergency repair or something?" I asked one of the Green Mountain men.

"Ah, no," he answered sheepishly. "This is just normal maintenance. We do it after hours because of the school."

"But it's Halloween Night."

"Uh, yeah. We're working Bronxville tonight because no one told us not to work Bronxville tonight."

I filmed the action for a while and moved on. Apart from the terrible odor and tremendous hammering racket, it seemed like an innocent blunder.

And it was an especially splendid Halloween Night in Bronxville, with crisp fall weather, a plethora of pirates (no grownup could figure out why), and an appearance by the Village's own Cerberus — proudly displaying all three heads, though only two were actively snarling.

Later, a three-headed dog came to serve as a sort of symbol for what happened that night — and everything that followed. Because something called "cured-in-place piping" (CIPP) was being installed at just the time little kids were breathing its noxious fumes. Only a few months prior, Purdue University — with a grant from the National Science Foundation — had published its findings about CIPP and posted a video to YouTube.

The news is not good. Especially now that we also have Purdue's water study on CIPP. In short, if you can avoid exposure to the cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting compounds that are released into the air during CIPP installation, and subsequently into the ground water, you really ought to do so — as this California community learned (YouTube video).

Jim Palmer, Village Administrator, tells us that CIPP is "under the school" — but he won't say where. Roy Montesano, Superintendant of Schools, told me he doesn't know where the work happened. The recommended monitoring of the air quality at the Bronxville School was not done because not ordered, according to Dr. Montesano.

What is CIPP and why is it in Bronxville Village? Cured-in-place piping is an enticing (because less expensive) alternative to digging up century-old waste water pipes and replacing them with new waste water pipes. It is also a booming business, with 50% of communities opting to line old pipes with a plastic resin liner — steam-melted to form a new seal — rather than replace them the old-fashioned way.

But CIPP has a high failure rate: Halloween 2017 was in fact the continuation of work that had commenced over Summer 2017, "When all the Bronxville kids were away" — to quote Mayor Mary Marvin.

So where else was CIPP installed in the Village? And when?

Village Hall won't say. Mayor Marvin has refused additional comment about CIPP, except to insist that it is safe. However, she did publicly acknowledge the Board of Trustees' discussion of CIPP toxicity as an aspect of their decision to vote unanimously for the Green Mountain (Vermont) contract.

But this vote was conducted — and remains sealed, in executive session — before Village Administration had the Purdue study. Nonetheless, Mayor Marvin and Administrator Palmer have had the air study since last November, when I emailed it to them. And I observed Chief of Police Chris Satriale hand copies of the water study to the Board at its most recent public meeting, on Sept 10.

Will Village Hall ever tell us where else CIPP was installed in the Village of Bronxville? And when? Because Purdue says it can take six months to "cure." Cured-in-place piping is under or near which homes, schools, businesses? I asked Mr. Palmer for a simple map. That was last November. Still no map.

We know that CIPP was installed under and around the Bronxville School because we saw it happen (and filmed it) on Halloween Night. Perhaps it's now all over, as in finished — CIPP (re)installation. And perhaps there's no longer any need to be concerned about the cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting compounds that Mayor Marvin says the Village Board discussed in private. But shouldn't Bronxville parents and business owners, especially, also have access to this information? If the news is not bad, why the ten-month refusal by Village Hall to share everything they know about CIPP with the community?

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