Serving New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Eight Tribal Nations.
EPA Response to September 11
The US Environmental Protection Agency played a key role in the nation’s response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. To protect public safety and health, EPA coordinated with multiple levels and branches of government to respond comprehensively to the initial emergency situation and the resulting environmental isaster. EPA led or participated in essential response activities including:
- the monitoring of air, water and dust for potential environmental hazards;
- the vacuuming of debris and dust from streets and other outdoor spaces in Lower Manhattan;
- the manual disposal of hazardous waste from the WTC site;
- the creation of an online database to report monitoring results to the public and press;
- setting up wash stations and providing protective equipment for recovery workers;
- and the development of cleaning and testing programs for indoor residences in Lower Manhattan.
Because many of EPA’s day-to-day activities at ground zero were completed long ago, much of the information and data available to the public is now outdated or archived.
Outdoor Monitoring Data
For data collected via sampling of outdoor air, please visit the World Trade Center Environmental Contaminant Database , hosted by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
Residential Dust Cleanup Program
In April 2002, the Mayor of New York City asked that EPA address potential effects of WTC dust on residences in lower Manhattan. EPA developed and implemented a comprehensive program, with broad interagency input at federal, state and local levels, to ensure that lower Manhattan residents were protected from potential exposures to WTC-related dust and debris.
The WTC dust cleanup and testing program allowed residents living south of Canal Street in lower Manhattan to have their homes professionally cleaned and tested or just tested free of charge. Read the Final Report [PDF 2.5M, 217pp] from that program.
In addition, EPA conducted three supporting projects:
- A Contaminants of Potential Concern Report [PDF 453K, 112pp] established health-based benchmarks for contaminants in support of cleanup efforts.
- A Confirmation Cleaning Building Study [PDF 13.4M, 507pp] evaluated the effectiveness of various cleaning techniques on WTC-related dust.
- A Background Study [PDF 2.1M, 144pp] provided data on contaminants in indoor air and settled dust in residences north of 78th Street in Manhattan.
Lower Manhattan Test and Clean Program
EPA concluded its Lower Manhattan Test and Clean Program in 2008. The voluntary program was offered to residents and building owners concerned about potential residual contamination in buildings impacted by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Read the Final Report [PDF 528K, 38pp] from that program.
Demolition and Deconstruction Activities
A number of buildings in the immediate vicinity of the World Trade Center were damaged on September 11. The majority have been repaired, cleaned and re-occupied. EPA led the efforts of federal, state and city agencies to ensure that the buildings were demolished or deconstructed in a manner that protected the health of people who live and work in the area. Work continues at the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street.