Staten Island, N.Y.– Residents of Mariners Harbor say they are feeling the impact of a project to deepen the Kill Van Kull — several residents say that cracks in the foundations of their homes are the result of a dredging project that involves blasting.
“I feel my house shake around the same time each day,” said Eugene Mosely, who showed several cracks in the foundation of his home on 22B South Ave. “When it first started, I thought it was a terror attack. It was scary how off-guard the shaking caught me; I feared my house would crumble to the ground.”
The vibrations from the blasting can be felt for upwards of five seconds and from several blocks away, with last week being the worst recent example, when homes shook for 10 seconds and made cracks under front stairways and in basements, according to several South Avenue residents.
“I felt a horrible rumble, everything was shaking,” said Sarah Young, another South Avenue resident who voiced her concerns after finding a crack in the concrete next to her front door. “The blasting is getting really bad,” she said. “I think there is an explosion sometimes.”
Both residents say the cracks did not exist prior to the blasting work in the Kill Van Kull — the waterway that separates the Island’s North Shore from Bayonne, N.J.
“There is no doubt that the sounds and rumbling felt by residents in the neighborhood are a result of the dredging in the Kill Van Kull,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore), whose office has received multiple complaints of damage.
“This unsettling situation should be investigated by the Army Corps of Engineers as soon as possible and efforts taken to remediate this matter,” she said.
The current New York/New Jersey harbor deepening project has lasted over a year, with many restrictions on when blasting can be done, along with how much force can be used behind each blast in the 1,500 foot “blast zone,” according to Bryce Wisemiller, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Several contracts have been issued to the Army Corps of Engineers in the last 12 years, with the current deepening project scheduled for completion in 2013. The sea bottom is to be deepened to over 50 feet, allowing much larger ships access to the channel.
Those immense ships are increasingly part of the global economy. Without the deepening project, local ports would not be competitive, and the economy would suffer, according to proponents of the dredging project.
The Corps and other involved agencies are monitoring the construction to ensure that the work conforms to federal, state and local requirements. Those requirements include a provision that drilling only be performed intermittently; only during daylight hours, and never on Sundays or federal holidays.
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