Noxious fumes in luxury apartment building near Nationals Park lead to stop work order

WASHINGTON — Gasoline fumes infiltrating a luxury apartment building have prompted a stop-work order on a neighboring property where a 13-story apartment building is planned near Nationals Park in Southeast.

For about a month before the cease and desist order issued Aug. 24, residents complained of a noxious odor in building common areas and in their apartments, which they claimed caused symptoms including nausea, vomiting and fainting.

The work that was placed on hold by D.C.’s Department of Energy and the Environment at 950 South Capitol St. Southeast was the removal of an underground gas storage tank and tainted soil from an old gas station. It was happening within feet of the air intake system for 28 K St. Southeast.

One Hill South is a luxury apartment complex near Nationals Park in Southeast. Before a stop work order was placed on Aug. 24, residents complained that noxious fumes from the construction project next-door were making them sick and causing major disruptions in their daily routines. (WTOP/Kristi King)
One Hill South is a luxury apartment complex near Nationals Park in Southeast. Before a stop work order was placed on Aug. 24, residents complained that noxious fumes from the construction project next door were making them sick and causing major disruptions in their daily routines. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
The ventilation system for One Hill South - circled here in red - faces the ongoing construction project next-door. (WTOP/Kristi King)
The ventilation system for One Hill South — circled here in red — faces the ongoing construction project next-door. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
The source of the fumes is an ongoing construction project to remove an old gasoline storage tank and soil tainted with gasoline. The project is being overseen by the same group that owns One Hill South. (WTOP/Kristi King)
The source of the fumes is an ongoing construction project to remove an old gasoline storage tank and soil tainted with gasoline. The project is being overseen by the same group that owns One Hill South. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
A safety inspector from the company overseeing the construction site next to One Hill South visited the site shortly after the stop-work order was issued. (WTOP/Kristi King)
A safety inspector from the company overseeing the construction site next to One Hill South visited the site shortly after the stop-work order was issued. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
A stop-work order was placed on the construction project by D.C.'s Department of Energy and the Environment. (WTOP/Kristi King)
A stop-work order was placed on the construction project by D.C.’s Department of Energy and the Environment. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
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One Hill South is a luxury apartment complex near Nationals Park in Southeast. Before a stop work order was placed on Aug. 24, residents complained that noxious fumes from the construction project next-door were making them sick and causing major disruptions in their daily routines. (WTOP/Kristi King)
The ventilation system for One Hill South - circled here in red - faces the ongoing construction project next-door. (WTOP/Kristi King)
The source of the fumes is an ongoing construction project to remove an old gasoline storage tank and soil tainted with gasoline. The project is being overseen by the same group that owns One Hill South. (WTOP/Kristi King)
A safety inspector from the company overseeing the construction site next to One Hill South visited the site shortly after the stop-work order was issued. (WTOP/Kristi King)
A stop-work order was placed on the construction project by D.C.'s Department of Energy and the Environment. (WTOP/Kristi King)
“I would call it a health hazard when your boyfriend is coughing up blood in the middle of the night,” said a resident who asked not to be identified. “He was literally coughing up blood into the sink from irritation caused by gasoline.”

Building residents who spoke with WTOP preferred not to be identified while they continue discussions with management of the property that is referred to as One Hill South.

A second resident describes the fumes as an inconvenience and nuisance.

“It was bad enough that you could taste it in your food when you were eating in your apartment and you have to leave the place,” he said.

The One Hill South Management Team released a statement to WTOP:

We are aware that some unfortunate odors have persisted as a result of the ongoing construction work in our neighborhood. The well being of our residents remains our top priority and we are continuing to work with all applicable District of Columbia agencies, as well as the construction and building management teams, to mitigate these odors and make our residents more comfortable.

Residents said conversations with building management have been underway since the odor issue first began a month ago, with no satisfying resolution.

“The general consensus from residents to management is that this isn’t acceptable … when you bill yourself as a five-star luxury building,” the second resident said. “Particularly when you’re the folks responsible for building the property next door. It’s not another competing company; it’s the same company building Phase II, (so) we would have hoped that there would have been a sense of urgency.”

The first resident told WTOP she and many of her neighbors want to break their leases or get some type of financial compensation.

In order for work to resume at 950 South Capitol St., the construction company has to submit an odor control plan to city inspectors who will oversee implementation of the plan. A DOEE spokesman said that timeline will depend on how long it takes for the company to get equipment and materials necessary to implement the plan.


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