Consolidated Edison 39th Street Powerhouse (Waterside Generating Station, First Avenue at East 39th Street) – Manhattan

The 39th Street Power House, better known as the Waterside Generating Station, opened in 1901 and was one of the first power plants to use steam turbines to generate electricity.  It was located between East 38th and 40th streets on the east side of First Avenue in the Murray Hill neighborhood. By 1937, the Waterside station served as a cogeneration facility, or a combined heat and power  (CHP) plant that generated electricity and utilized the heat by generating steam for the New York City steam system.

On September 28, 1999, Con Edison announced that it filed an Article X Pre-Application with the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC). According to the plan, the repowered East River Station would replace the steam and electric generating capacity of the company’s Waterside Generating Station, located on First Avenue at East 39th Street, which would then be sold along with several other company properties on First Avenue.

Consolidated Edison 39th Street Powerhouse (Waterside Generating Station, First Avenue at East 39th Street) – Manhattan

Reproduction Number: HABS NY,31-NEYO,159A—1, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

Before its sale to a private developer, the Waterside power station had been out of compliance with environmental regulations for five years, and had a reputation for being one of the most polluting steam/electricity-generating plants in the state.  In 1988, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency filed a lawsuit against Consolidated Edison in the Brooklyn Federal District Court, addressing the asbestos removal at the Waterside Plant and additional steam/electricity-generating plants in the area.  In the lawsuit, Con Edison was accused of failing to protect workers and/or the public who may have been exposed to asbestos dust during the demolition and decommission of the Waterside Generating Plant.  This process included building and power plant demolition, and the removal of an underground storage tank. Some of the carcinogens that had to be removed from the site included more than 100,000 gallons of oily water. 1,000 tons of PCB-contaminated soil, and 100 tons of soil with dangerous levels of lead.

Consolidated Edison 39th Street Powerhouse (Waterside Generating Station, First Avenue at East 39th Street) – Manhattan 2

The sale of the Waterside Power House and the three other Con Edison properties was approved by the NYPSC in 2004.  The Waterside Plant was the oldest electric power generating station in New York City at the time it was decommissioned in April 2005. Demolition and environmental remediation of the properties was completed in 2008.  As of 2023, the property has remained vacant land.

Since 1995, the attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC have been helping clients in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and across New York State who have been injured due to asbestos exposure. Through our tireless efforts, we have helped to shape and reform asbestos laws throughout the state of New York. We have a full team of lawyers devoted to representing people exposed to asbestos.

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