“The west side of the AVAC line is obstructed impacting garbage collection via vacuum along the duct work servicing building complex at Westview and BLG 531 (Rivercross),” a RIOC Advisory said. It foreshadowed worse to come, the secret AVAC failures.
by David Stone
While in the real world where most of us live there is no chance of any “duct work servicing” any building complex, the message was important. It exposed yet another AVAC failure, after many similar events over two years.
Significantly, the breakdowns started in 2021, almost immediately after the opening of 460 Main Street. Many believe that the system has grown over its capacity and is in a death-spiral if not given serious attention.
After reassuring readers that help was on the way, the advisory concluded with this: “There is no definite projection of time of when it can be resolved, but daily updates will be sent before end of everyday about any progress made, until it gets resolved.”
That was on July 5th, 2023.
Filled with grammatical errors though that statement was, it signaled a new reaching out by a long bunkered state agency.
But it was a misstep, yet another lie. RIOC never released even one of the “daily updates” pledged. So, a staff of three struggles to write a grammatically correct sentence but can’t follow through on promises either.
AVAC Failures: The Future
Even as RIOC’s crack communications engine left that project dangling into infinity, worsening conditions went unreported.
The most troubling unacknowledged problem is that the AVAC’s normal vacuum system no longer works in Southtown, at least not as designed.
Garbage is not routinely sucked up through the mainline ducts into the collection facility north of the Motorgate Parking Garage. Instead, the Department of Sanitation arrives at the buildings and individually pulls garbage down the chutes.
The challenge here becomes more vivid on weekends when DOS personnel don’t always arrive and the chutes clog as high as the 6th floor, leaving stink floating down the corridors of Roosevelt Island’s most expensive rentals.
Although CFO John O’Reilly had plans on his desk for rebuilding the system when he departed RIOC last year, there is no indication today that the state is addressing these issues.
Financial issues exacerbated by losses at the Tram and Sportspark along with skyrocketing legal bills may stunt or block any investment.
So, here’s the problem: Southtown’s newest and last building topped out this month. Cladding and windows began climbing the frame. The building is larger than any of the eight preceding it.
If the AVAC can’t handle trash levels today, what happens when the newest, tallest building opens its doors next year?