A Bushwick hospital’s foul generators and noisy chiller unit still have locals fuming even after neighborhood pressure saw the equipment moved off the street.
Neighbors are demanding Wyckoff Heights hospital remove heavily polluting generators, which have spewed noxious exhaust onto the street for more than three months — an embarrassing scenario for a center that recently doubled its number of intake rooms for patients with asthma.
It has gotten so bad that one Bushwick resident said her son had three nose bleeds last week and coughs when he sleeps.
“Since [Wyckoff] moved the generator to the St. Nicholas Avenue side, we had to deal with noise and losing sleep,” St. Nicholas resident Heather Kim wrote to Wyckoff Hospital officials. “The smell of these fumes makes us crazy. As a concerned mother, I do wonder if the fumes are causing my son’s discomfort.”
Hospital officials plopped the generator and chiller trailers this spring on Stanhope Street, where it received several violations from the city for noise and air pollution.
When residents protested at a hospital advisory meeting in May, officials capitulated and moved the generators to a parking lot on St. Nicholas Avenue.
Wyckoff executives urged patience, promising to remove the units by October 1.
Hospital CEO Rajiv Garg told residents that the $180,000-per month generators and chiller were fitted with sound-dampening devices and one of two generators inside the trailer would be swiftly replaced after it broke down.
But on June 6, the state Department of Health disapproved Wyckoff’s $7-million plan to replace air-conditioning equipment without a review — a frustrating setback that would delay removal of the generator and chiller units on the street.
“We did not anticipate the state’s disapproval, this could cause a delay in the progress,” said Garg, in an email to residents. “Any delay over one week in receiving the approval will affect our time table in completing this project and removing the portable chiller which is providing air conditioning to the hospital.”
Frustrations are beginning to boil over.
Bushwick resident Hilda Shen asserted that noise from the two generators has not been muffled and that the unit continues to emit black fumes.
“The noise issue has been duplicated in the parking lot, and has not alleviated the air pollution,” said Shen. “We do not want those diesel fume particulates in our lungs. This is air pollution.”
Kim wants the hospital to be more responsive to her family — and to remove the generators permanently.
“Please do the right thing, be a good neighbor — at least, please tell your administrators to apologize when people call to ask about the problems they’ve been dealing with for the past few years, instead of yelling, ‘What do you want me to do with that?’” said Kim. “Doctors are supposed to be more educated and they educate future physicians and medically treat so many very needy and poor people of this community. We only just want to open our windows, sometimes. We only just want our children to be safe."