Consolidated Edison Kips Bay Plant
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New York City was once divided into 10 heating districts in which central boiler plants would be placed to supply steam to the various areas of the city. By 1932, the huge Kips Bay station plus five other stations were providing electricity and steam to more than 2,500 buildings. Con Edison continues to provide steam to about 1,800 of the buildings in New York City.
The Kips Bay Plant was originally supplied with fuel oil delivered by barge and piped to the facility from the port to a huge oil storage tank. The Kips Bay Fuel Terminal also stored fuel in an underground tank serving as a backup fuel depot for the steam boilers at the Waterside Generating Station. The site later required extensive remedial activities including asbestos abatement, excavation of soils and solids from an ash pit, the removal of petroleum and PCB impacted soil, and an evaluation of the groundwater conditions.
When the Kips Bay Plant was established and throughout much of its history, asbestos was the most commonly used form of insulation and was in heavy use as insulation for the miles of pipe within the system, as well as pipe leaving the plant in its steam distribution system. Workers in the plant ─ whether in any of the trades necessary to keep the plant producing, such as plumbers, electricians, and boilermakers ─ were exposed to high levels of asbestos, as the substance was literally everywhere. Even those working in administrative jobs were exposed. The substance was constantly floating in the dust in the air.
Workers in the plant up to the point at which asbestos was removed, or those involved in the asbestos abatement process, may now be suffering the dreadful consequences of the exposure, having developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis.
Con Ed sold the Kips Bay site to Sheldon Solow in 2000, with this prime waterfront property now one of the largest development sites in New York City.
Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after working in a power plant?
- New York Times: Kips Bay, Taking Back the Streets