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At Event Today, Administrator Whitman and Mayor Giuliani Formally Open EPA's Winterized Indoor Wash Station for WTC Workers; 31,000 Sq. Foot Facility Provides Worker and Equipment Washdowns, Food, Break Area

Release Date: 12/11/2001
Contact Information:
(#01144) New York, N.Y. -- Earlier today, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman and New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani unveiled EPA's new indoor wash station at ground zero. Workers doing removal and recovery work at the debris pile of the World Trade Center during the winter months - including thousands of city, state and federal employees, volunteers and contractors - will use this state-of-the art facility until the spring. The new 31,000 square foot indoor wash station features boot and mask wash areas, HEPA vacuums for dusty clothing, 30 shower stalls, men's and women's locker areas, Salvation Army hot and cold food stations, and American Red Cross disaster mental health counseling. Up to 6,000 workers use the facility every day.

Also attending the event today were:

    • Jane Kenny, the new Regional Administrator of EPA Region 2 based in New York;
    • Timothy S. Carey, President and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority;
    • Major George Polarek, World Trade Center Incident Commander for the Salvation Army;
    • Larry Koslick, Disaster Relief Operation Director for the Red Cross.
"EPA's new wash station will help ensure the safety of ground zero workers and the safety of the neighborhood by making sure everyone who works at this site can clean off the dust and other materials they've accumulated on their clothing and equipment and on themselves," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman . "Our hope is that this facility will provide a refuge and a shelter for all those who are doing so much - more than any of us have the right to ask or expect, but which they are doing from their hearts and souls."

"I want to commend the EPA for their efforts in getting this great new indoor wash station up and running prior to winter setting in," said Mayor Giuliani . "This state-of the-art facility will provide those working at ground zero with a warm and comfortable place to rest; have a hot meal; change their clothing and wash up. I thank Administrator Whitman for her on-going support, and look forward to the continued cooperation of the EPA."

"The events of September 11 are too large for any one agency. We are pleased to join together with the American Red Cross and especially with the EPA to serve our rescue workers - New York's finest," said Salvation Army Incident Commander Major George Polarek.

"As the city heals, the American Red Cross is honored to continue to provide around the clock emotional, therapeutic and spiritual support to the dedicated workers at Ground Zero," said Larry Koslick, American Red Cross Disaster Relief Operation Director . Workers may take a momentary refuge from the harsh working environment and share their personal experiences with licensed Red Cross counselors."

The wash station, located inside a large white tent on Battery Park City property at West and Murray Streets in lower Manhattan, was constructed and has been maintained by EPA at a cost of approximately $4 million in emergency funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It costs EPA approximately $650,000 a month to run the station, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides World Trade Center workers with a place to wash equipment and shower, store possessions, eat and take a break during their often long and strenuous workdays on and around the debris pile. The Salvation Army provides about 9,000 meals a day to workers at the north end of the facility.