Demolition of a building that’s no longer needed should be a relatively simple project, but when that building is contaminated with asbestos, fear of mesothelioma raises the stakes – and the price tag. In Otsego, Michigan, the situation surrounding the former Rock Teen Paper Mill became so complex that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had to be called in. After assessing the situation, the agency has indicated that the structure is too unstable for normal remediation and removal, and as a result of the special approach that will be needed, the project is going to cost about $1 million. This is twice what it would have cost normally, but still well worth it to protect both workers and those who may come in close proximity to the building.
Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. Though asbestos is known for its strength, the material actually breaks down easily, and once it is damaged its lightweight fibers float easily through the air. The material has caused untold heartache and tragedy in those who have come down with asbestos-related illnesses, and as a result there are special rules and processes to protect workers and the public from this dangerous material. Since many buildings, including the Rock Tenn Paper Mill, were constructed before the dangers of asbestos were known, and made heavy use of the material, a careful approach is required when it is time for those structures to come down or to be refurbished. In the case of the paper mill’s power plant, rather than simply removing asbestos in sealed containers and then transporting it to specialized disposal locations, the EPA will pay to have the building taken apart via a crane while misting devices continuously wet down the site and the structure to prevent any dust from rising into the air. The debris will then be removed using standard asbestos removal practices, while special measures will be taken to prevent groundwater from being contaminated as well. The air will be monitored regularly to ensure that the remediation efforts are safe.
The Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with keeping consumers safe from pollutants that can cause diseases like mesothelioma, and as such it will use funds set aside for the cleanup of Superfund sites to take care of this project. At the same time, it will be looking to previous owners and others for compensation.
The care and consideration being used to handle this challenge is a far cry from the actions of companies whose careless use of asbestos led to people being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. If you are a victim of asbestos and need information about your rights, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.