PS29 Construction


Posted by: admin on: April 28, 2012

Update Summary

The SCA has completed the abatement on the exterior ‘opening ‘of Room 404.

The the “All Clear” fax for re-occupancy from the air testing they perform during the abatement process is scheduled to be emailed to us this evening.

They have concluded the abatement for this weekend.

They were not able to get to rooms 402, and 400, or confirm when rooms 302, 300, 203, 202, 200 will be done this coming week as previously scheduled. They will advise us of the remaining schedule on Monday.


We urge you to read our full communication with the SCA below;


Subject: RE: Friday’s Abatement Work

Date: April 28, 2012 4:55:37 PM EDT

To: Health+Safety <>



Abatement work scheduled for room 404 is complete.


As for as the remaining questions related to scheduling, we will advise you on Monday.



From: Health+Safety []
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 4:24 PM
Subject: Re: Friday’s Abatement Work

Dear Alex,

We greatly appreciate your detailed response, and are happy to hear that you will inform us of any deviation in the schedule moving forward;

In order for us to keep parents up to date can you confirm the following;

  1. Work on the outside of Room 404 is complete
  2. Room 402 and room 400 will be rescheduled for another date to be determined
  3. April 30-May 1 – 3rd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 302, 300 – on schedule for abatement
  4. May 2 – May 4 – 2nd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 203, 202, 200  - on schedule for abatement
Kind Regards
Health and Safety
On Apr 28, 2012, at 3:18 PM, LEMPERT, ALEX wrote:

In response to your email to Lorraine Grillo earlier today, please be advised that the Contractor began the abatement process last evening, as we indicated in our schedule, and the site has been inspected twice by DEP. Physical removal of the abatement begin noon today in Room 404.  Due to the fact that Room 404 is a corner room, there were significantly more windows that required preparation.  This did not allow sufficient time to undertake abatement in the remaining areas that were planned this weekend. The other areas planned for asbestos abatement this weekend will be completed at another time and all parties will be informed accordingly.  Abatement is now complete in Room 404 and the air samples are en route to the laboratory for testing.   We expect to have results within the hour and demobilize by early evening today. This will conclude all abatement work for this weekend.

We realize that there is a deviation in the schedule.  However, not unlike most projects during initial start-up, the work may not progress as quickly as we anticipate.  In the future, we will inform you of any deviation in the schedule.
Thank you,
  1. Alex.  

From: Health+Safety []
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 1:15 PM
Subject: Friday’s Abatement Work


Dear Lorraine,
We have reason to believe via the Custodian of the school that Abatement did not take place last night. Please can you confirm whether this information is indeed correct. If it is correct can you explain to us why we weren’t told? On Friday night we let all 600+ families of the school that Abatement will take place outside the following rooms and on what days;

  • o   April 27-28 - 4th floor – staircase 2, rooms 404, 402, 400
  • o   April 30-May 1 – 3rd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 302, 300 
  • o   May 2 – May 4 – 2nd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 203, 202, 200
I would like to reiterate that you promised us in front of many angry and agitated parents to be collaborative and proactively informative. You ensured us that you will be informing us of all the classrooms that will be worked on and when.
Going forward, we will need an updated list of EXACTLY which rooms will be worked on each night, and we will need to know an exact time each day by which we will receive it. The Principal or H &S committee will have to find a way to notify families every day about this and we need this process to be streamlined and predictable. We should not be spending our time tracking down information from you. 
Health and Safety



Follow-up communication with SCA since PTA Meeting

Posted by: admin on: April 28, 2012


H&S Committee has sent several emails to Lorraine Grillo asking for follow-up actions and clarifications on various questions. They are reprinted below followed by the responses we have gotten so far.


Good afternoon, Lorraine and Yvette,

The committee is in the midst of putting together a follow up document to be shared with the SCA.  Our first priority is to pull together information for parents before the weekend in the form of an eblast and post on our website.  In doing so we consulted the proposed abatement schedule Melanie received from you last night.  In reading the timeline, the schedule of rooms appears to run as follows:

  • April 27-28 - 4th floor – staircase 2, rooms 404, 402, 400
  • April 30-May 1 – 3rd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 302, 300
  • May 2 – May 4 – 2nd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 203, 202, 200

While we are not currently in the building, we are sure that many of these rooms have multiple windows. In fact, 203 is the room you were in last night (the one most effected by the dust) and that corner room alone has multiple windows if you recall.  Would it be fair to say that “windows” is then the wrong terminology because some are connected and don’t have caulking all the way around?  Should we be thinking of it in terms of “openings” rather than “windows?” Because if it is windows than the schedule above is unrealistic.

We contacted George directly who told us he is not responsible for scheduling and directed us to you.

Parents are waiting to hear if their child’s classroom will be worked on next week and we have a responsibility to answer them before the weekend. It is already nearing the end of the school day so if you could please clarify asap it would be appreciated.

Best, PS29 Health and Safety

EMAIL TO LORRAINE GRILLO FROM H&S CMTE,  Friday, April 27, 2012 3:44 PM


We again thank you and your team for your time last night.

We feel that we made some progress but there remains much to do.  We would like to start with some of the most important matters that require follow up and would appreciate your response as soon as possible so that we may begin to collaborate in a way that is satisfactory to us all.

Please provide us with:

1. The name and number of the Project Co-ordinator they have assigned and confirmation that they will be on site this evening.

2. A full list of roles and responsibilities the Project Co-ordinator will have.

3. A full or regular abatement schedule. We have an abatement schedule that has only eight classrooms listed, to be abated next week only.  According to George Taylor there are 92 windows in the plan. When will we get the schedule for these? If the plan is weekly, please provide new schedule to committee by Wednesday of the preceding week so we can tell parents in advance.

4. Who and how exactly will they get the all clear to us on Saturday morning and every morning going forward? A fax, as was mentioned, won’t work – unless someone is sitting at a fax machine at all times it’s ineffective.  Perhaps a scan of the report emailed to Melanie and one back up email address in case she is unavailable to disseminate information.

We need written confirmation:

  • of ALL precautions that will be taken before, during, and after abatement
  • of the asbestos abatement process in laymen’s terms
  • that when Taylor works on an abating an opening they will cover all openings of that room and the a/c even if they are on another side of the building (for example in the case of a corner room)
  • there will be no raking work until July 2
  • all asbestos is non-friable
  • we have permission for the UFT employed industrial hygienist (an SCA approved monitor)

We would also like to request that our weekly meetings take place on Thursdays at 9am, beginning this Thursday, May 3.

Best, PS29 Health and Safety

LORRAINE GRILLO’S RESPONSE on April 27, 2012 4:09:26 PM:

 I’d like to thank the members of the committee for your patience.  I agree that last night was just the beginning of an open dialogue and I truly believe we will get through this and you will gain confidence in the SCA, our contractor and the quality of work that we do.

We will work to answer all of these questions and have just met this afternoon to put together the written responses to your original questions and to provide the requested contracts etc.  You should have that early next week.  Regarding the weekly meetings, I’ve copied some members of our team to check their availability or to arrange a  designee for regular attendance at the Thursday morning meetings. I’m also asking Alex to check on the Lab’s ability to scan the reoccupancy letter and email it to the principal and one other parent.  We will let you know asap.

Have a great weekend and again thanks for hosting us.

 LORRAINE GRILLO’S RESPONSE, Friday, April 27, 2012 4:17:19 PM 

I just found out we will be able to scan the letter from the lab and email it the principal and whoever the additional person that you designate. Let me know who that is. Thanks

 EMAIL TO LORRAINE GRILLO, Saturday, Apr 28 09:20:12 2012

Good morning Lorraine,

Please email the additional ‘All Clear’ Letter to the Health and Safety Committee email.

Many thanks PS29 Health and Safety

 LORRAINE GRILLO’S RESPONSE, April 28, 2012 9:22:04 AM  

Will do

Latest Media Coverage, 04.28.2012

Posted by: admin on: April 28, 2012

New York Times


Carroll Gardens Patch


Asbestos Abatement Classroom List

Posted by: admin on: April 27, 2012

Below please find abatement schedule for the week of 4/27-5/4. Future schedules will be made available to you in advance of the week in which work begins.  Each week’s schedule is created based upon how much work is completed in the week prior.
Note for those of you not at the PTA/SCA meeting last night: Abatement is being done by a third party specialist, Taylor, approved and hired by the SCA.  The plan is to abate two “openings” per day.  Please note, initially the project was for “window” abatement, but because many of the school’s windows are side by side and don’t have caulking all the way around (and caulking is what is being abated), they are being referred to as “openings.”  We are waiting for a description of the process in layman’s terms form the the SCA.  We are pressing for it.
  • April 27-28 - 4th floor – staircase 2, rooms 404, 402, 400
  • April 30-May 1 – 3rd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 302, 300
  • May 2 – May 4 – 2nd floor – staircase 2 and rooms 203, 202, 200

Protest at PS29 Tonight, 5.30pm-7pm

Posted by: admin on: April 27, 2012

Questions/Document Requests for the SCA

Posted by: admin on: April 25, 2012

(DOCUMENT REQUESTS ARE BOLDED and added as a separate category at the end) 


●        Who are the counterparties on the construction contracts and what role does each agency play?

●        When were the contracts with AE, Taylor and Ricci signed?

●        Please provide us with copies of these contracts(see below).

●        Who is responsible for ensuring that the contractors are in compliance with regulations? How can we

independently verify their compliance?



●       What is the specific DEP protocol that the SCA operates under re: Community Notification for ACM


●       Why is there no 7-day notice?

●       Please provide a copy of this document, waiver, and/or variance.

●       Please provide us with copies of the original RFP, signed contracts with AE, Ricci and Taylor


●       Please provide us with a comprehensive Work Flow/Time Line for the entire 18 month project.


Timing of Demolition

●       How long will the asbestos abatement of the windows take?

●       A parent and member of the electrical union, whose projects include NYC public schools, confirms that NYC schools often delay hazardous work inside buildings, such as asbestos abatement, until the

summer when school is out.  Why is that not the case here?

●       Why can’t the contractor employ double shifts during the summer months when the school is empty?


Scope of Asbestos Abatement

●       On how many windows is this work being performed?

●       Exactly which classrooms will be worked on, on what days? Teachers and parents have a right to

know on what days their classrooms will be affected.

●       How many days, in total, do you estimate the window abatement will take?

●       What kind of ACM is in the windows?

-friable? Non-friable?

●       If it is friable, why must this be removed as the EPA recommends containment as the safer option?

Why is it a last resort now?

●       Please tell us more about the containment barrier.

-What exactly is a “containment barrier”?

-Is it around the classrooms being worked on or around whole school?

-If it is around whole school will it be put up daily and taken down in morning so that windows may be opened?

-If barriers are being put up, how are workers entering and exiting those areas?

-Walking from abated area into a safe zone, aren’t fibers attached to clothing or are hallway barriers being built as well?



●       Please clarify the play yard wash down schedule. At the April 18 two-week look ahead meeting we

were told it would be washed down nightly but thereafter Fred Malley told us that it would not be

nightly, only “as needed.”

●       Also at the April 18 two-week look ahead meeting the SCA agreed to postpone raking until summer.

Fred Malley has said this is not true they are only postponing until summer on the side of the building

that faces the school yard. Please clarify.



●       Who is doing the testing for the air quality for lead and mold. Please state which phases of the job

require testing?  Will asbestos be tested for ever morning?

●       Please explain how Taylor is a Third Party testing company or entity, who is paying them?

●       How will test results be made available to the public/parent community?

●       SInce according to the SCA testing will be done every day to determine whether it is safe to occupy

the school, what is the contingency plan from the Board of Ed and the SCA if the toxin levels are

determined to be unsafe?

●       How long will the school have to be closed if levels are deemed unsafe?  Where will our kids go

those days?

  • Is Taylor “Job Monitor” meaning that they will also be present for evening and morning site inspections and sign off on same?
  •   Can we get it in writing that there will be a dedicated SCA inspector on site to sign off as well?
  • Will there also be a Union Shop Steward on site for these inspections as well?


Nightly Clean Up Efforts

●       Please confirm the cleanup process. As we understand it, in the evening two men will

walk the interior of the school with our custodial supervisor , Carlos, to check and clean as needed. Per John Gentile there will also be a project manager in the morning and evenings to ensure the cleanup is happening/has happened. We would like to clarify at this time that Carlos is not a member of the cleaning crew, rather a representative of PS29 whose job it is to guide the crew and assist if there are any questions.

●       For the nightly classroom inspection and cleanup effort, please provide detailed documentation of the

exact process and checklists as well as sign off sheets. Please provide names of parties responsible for performing and signing off work. There should be such documentation produced every night.


Reiteration of Document Requests

●       Please provide a copy of the specific DEP or other agency document that the SCA operates

      under re: Community Notification.

●       If there is a waiver and/or variance, please provide a copy.

●       Please provide us with copies of the original RFP, and signed contracts with AE, Ricci and

      Taylor Environmental.

●       Please provide us with a comprehensive Work Flow/Time Line for the entire 18 month project.





We are the community of PS 29 in Brooklyn, where a major and potentially hazardous construction project has been underway since March of this year, and we are writing in the hopes that the UFT will support our mission: 

A change to NYC school construction policy such that all dust-producing/asbestos-
removing/lead-exposing work should be done only during summer months and extended vacations.

 Since the project began, we have seen that the current NYC school construction policy puts the health of our children and educators at risk.

 To us, this is unacceptable.  We hope you feel the same way.

 Thus far, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott have refused to bend despite our demonstrating that the School Construction Authority (SCA) has cut corners and not followed the specific codes laid out in the 100-page procedural document they cited to us.  We will provide additional details shortly.

On Monday, April 23, 2012, at PS 29 in Brooklyn we held a rally and succeeded in delaying an asbestos abatement process that was announced to occur only three days prior to its scheduled date.  

The SCA stated that the delay was “due to weather,” but we believe it was due to our activism.

We began an online protest last week — prior to the asbestos abatement announcement — because due to a process called “raking” significant amounts of dust that one doctor among us called “bad dust” were accumulating in and around active classrooms.

Our petition has nearly 500 signatures: BLOOMBERG! ISSUE A STOP WORK ORDER


The next step is this Thursday, April 26th at the PS 29 PTA meeting, 425 Henry Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Representatives from SCA and The NYC School Chancellor’s office, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and City Councilmember Brad Lander are slated to attend. 

Our demand is that the SCA postpone asbestos abatement and dust-producing work until the summer.  Your voices, on behalf of teachers, can help postpone the construction at PS 29 in the name of safety.  You can also help us to broaden awareness of the SCA’s antiquated construction policy as it affects all schools, students and educators.

Will you join us?


Update 04.24.2012

Posted by: admin on: April 24, 2012

Thursday April 24, 8am: Construction Committee planning meeting. Please come and be prepared to help. Email questions to

Thursday April 26, 7pm: PTA Meeting–SCA officials, press, and other community members are expected to attend. Pizza, childcare provided.


Despite Brad Lander’s letter (Letter to SCA re asbestos abatement at PS 29 FINAL), the protest at PS 29 yesterday, outreach to other politicians (Speaker Quinn, Bill DeBlasio, Squadron, Markowitz), press (see previous post), the response from DOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s office (see below) shows that all signs point to the likelihood of asbestos abatement at PS 29 beginning this Friday night.


On Monday, 4/23, the Chancellor’s office wrote to one of our members:


“There are many, many similar projects taking place across the City in our schools.  As the work progresses, we will be doing asbestos abatement, as we do in many schools.  Know that these efforts take place after school hours and on weekends.  Everything is thoroughly cleaned before the children re-enter the building in the morning.  Please be assured that the environment of PS29K will remain safe for our students and staff. Our School Construction Authority and School Facilities teams will work closely with your principal and with the school community as the work continues”


In light of this, here’s what we’re now working on:

  • A new list of detailed questions to be sent to the SCA requesting details about the full scope, timeframe, and safety procedures to be undertaken during this project. List will be posted here tomorrow.
  • Preparing for the possibility that abatement and dust-causing work will go on during school by doing proactive research and policing, and negotiating additional safety protocols with the SCA (as we have already with the dust). This requires speaking to experts, research on EPA recommendations, and other alternative research, ALL OF WHICH REQUIRES EXTRA HELP.
  • People come up with new ideas every day—we are compiling them. They range from hiring an independent monitor who oversees the whole job, instituting new technical safety measures, and more. If you have these kinds of ideas, please join us and help us follow up on them

Media Coverage of 4/23 Protest at PS 29

Posted by: admin on: April 24, 2012


Posted by: admin on: April 23, 2012

Email from Melanie Woods 4/23/12 at 2:59 PM.

Dear PS 29 families,

 I have spoken with Carl Colombo, who is the head of SCA for Brooklyn.  There will be no demolition and no abatement this afternoon and evening due to the inclement weather. They also want the chance to meet with our community at Thursday evening’s PTA meeting to address ongoing concerns.  Carl, along with other members of SCA, will be in attendance. I have also requested that a representative from the Taylor Environmental Group, who is monitoring the asbestos work,  also attend the meeting.  SCA’s plan is to commence work (demo and abatement) on Friday, April 27.  

I know this is a very trying time for everyone at PS 29 and I encourage you to attend the PTA meeting.  Thank you to the parents who have been working diligently on the website.  Please go to for updated information.

Thank you,



This delay is being presented as due to weather.  We therefore need to keep up the due diligence/pressure to have this portion of the project, as well as the raking, moved to the summer months given the wide spread concern and lack of information we have about both of these potentially hazardous processes.