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June 23, 2018

School shut down over asbestos risk

Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.
Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.

An Auckland primary school has been shut down by its board of trustees due to an asbestos risk.

The decision to close Bayfield School in Herne Bay was made last night to mitigate the risk of asbestos dust from a nearby building site where demolition and asbestos removal work was being carried out.

The decision was made by its board of trustees following meetings with the school’s principal Sheryl Fletcher, the Ministry of Education, project contractors and Work Safe NZ – the organisation responsible for health and safety on the building works.

In a statement, school representatives said in those meetings, the board sought assurance from the project team that health and safety issues associated with the agreed project plan for the removal of asbestos were being adequately dealt with.

The ministry was the contract counterparty on the work and the board’s role was that of an observer, the statement said.

“To date we have been satisfied with the process being applied but during the course of today we have become increasingly concerned with the position.

“This concern has been borne out by a number of tests carried out that indicated the possibility that asbestos dust exists outside the fenced area of works.”

Testing by Work Safe NZ last night confirmed asbestos within the fenced area, however further testing was needed to confirm that the area outside the fences was asbestos-free.

That testing is due to be carried out today, and while it may ultimately show that the site was safe, board representatives stated they were not satisfied with the school remaining open until that could be proven.

It was likely the school would be closed until Monday at the earliest, school representatives said.

A meeting with parents to discuss the issue was being planned. Board members were due to meet with ministry representatives this morning to obtain health and safety information that could be circulated to parents.

Bayfield School is a decile 10 school with around 380 Year 1 to Year 6 students.

APNZ

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School shut down over asbestos risk

Asbestos removed as Broad Street Parkway construction continues

NASHUA — So far, about 17,000 cubic yards of asbestos has been mitigated and disposed of during construction on the Broad Street Parkway.

That amount, according to project manager John Vancor, is slightly less than expected. Initially, crews were anticipating that 16,500 cubic yards of asbestos would be encountered and disposed of on site, in addition to 3,000 cubic yards that would have to be taken off of the site for disposal, he said.

“All of the asbestos encountered has been disposed of,” said Vancor, adding two independent teams of professionals are making sure that all asbestos safeguards are in place.

The majority of asbestos has been located within the northern portion of the roadway work, although a small amount has been found elsewhere, according to Vancor.

Aside from the asbestos, crews are now dealing with problems of urban fill found inside certain areas of the project that must also be disposed of, he explained.

Progress on the Broad Street Parkway, a nearly two-mile urban roadway that will provide another crossing over the Nashua River, is moving ahead on schedule and on budget.

“There is quite a bit of activity going on,” Vancor said this week.

He said a retaining wall is being constructed, a new sewer pipe has been installed and a trestle into the river is underway.Earth work has also begun in the north sector of the roadway project, according to Vancor, who has heard complaints about vibrations at nearby buildings.”I know there is a lot of concern,” he said, acknowledging there is quite a bit of ground vibrations. However, he stressed that no blasting is taking place as part of the Broad Street Parkway project.
As construction progresses, he said there are still properties that must be acquired to pave way for the roadway. Acquisition of those properties by the state Department of Transportation is ongoing, said Vancor.There are some surplus properties no longer needed for the parkway since its original route was altered. Vancor said those properties must be sold within the next year to help offset the bond, otherwise the money will be returned to the federal government.One of the surplus properties includes the Nashua Police Department’s current training facility.

Alderman-at-Large James Donchess said he would like the city to retain that parcel at 82 Pine St. Ext., questioning Vancor this week on whether keeping that property would be feasible. Donchess also asked whether some of the surplus properties could be leased by the city.

Vancor said he would have to seek clarification on those matters.

In the meantime, he said there is still some demolition that remains at 44 Broad St., a parcel that was previously taken by eminent domain as part of the Broad Street Parkway project but is no longer necessary for the revised path of the roadway.
The parcel, which is now being used as a staging area for one of the parkway contractors, was previously occupied by Mayhem Ink, Aidan James Salon, Wizard Cycles and Gregory J. Fine Flooring and Design. The plot was originally considered for the relocation of the David W. Deane Skateboard Park, but other sites are now being evaluated for the park.The Broad Street Parkway, which will cost about $60 million to complete, will provide another crossing over the Nashua River and allow motorists to bypass Amherst Street, possibly alleviating downtown traffic and potentially attracting more business to the Millyard Technology Park.

Construction includes a new Nashua River Bridge, as well as construction to the Baldwin and Fairmount Street bridges. Work has already begun on Baldwin Street, and the bridge there is expected to be completed by the start of the next school year.

Work on the Fairmount Street Bridge will begin once Baldwin Street is finished, and that section of the project should be completed in about a year. The new Nashua River Bridge will be finished prior to that, with an opening date planned for May 1, 2015.

khoughton@newstote.com

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Asbestos removed as Broad Street Parkway construction continues

Boulder City bypass project hits snag with naturally occurring asbestos discovery

CARSON CITY – Discovery of naturally occurring asbestos in the soils in a section of the proposed Boulder City bypass will cause a delay in the project as the state conducts a more comprehensive study.

“This was a bombshell that was dropped,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said Monday during a meeting of the state Transportation Board.

John Terry, assistant director of the state Transportation Department, said Monday the department’s own environmental studies conducted earlier did not detect the asbestos, which was discovered by a team of UNLV researchers and reported in December. ”We have never dealt with this before.”

He said after the UNLV findings were released, the department immediately assembled a task force to determine the most suitable way to progress with the project given the highly sensitive nature of the potential health risk to workers and residents in Boulder City and the surrounding areas.

The news also caused the department to cancel a contract for a frontage road.

Terry said the project would require a lot of dirt to be moved, resulting in a lot of flying dust, which could carry asbestos particles. Any asbestos-carrying dust would pose health risks to workers and nearby communities, board members were advised. Federal and international agencies have determined that asbestos is a human carcinogen.

“This could be a show stopper,” said Sandoval, who chairs the Transportation Board.

The Transportation Department’s task force determined the most appropriate strategy moving forward would be to procure an expert to do additional soil testing and a full analysis for asbestos concentrations within the project area. The Transportation Board authorized the department to spend up to $400,000 to hire a consultant to perform the study.

Tina Quigley, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, said the agency has hired its own consultant, who has discovered the naturally occurring asbestos in two of the 10 holes surveyed. Quigley said 200 holes would be surveyed and the results should be known by May 21.

The RTC is joining with the state to finance the bypass.

Terry did not estimate the length of the delay.

In other action, the board approved spending $5.5 million for safety improvements and repaving of cracking surfaces on State Route 157, known as Kyle Canyon Road in Clark County.

The state originally put up $2 million for the $20 million project, which is mostly on federal land. The added $5.5 million will extend the road surface for another 10 years, Terry said.

The department accepted $20 million from the city of Las Vegas as its share for right of way and construction of the Martin Luther King extension over Charleston Boulevard.

And the department is contributing $35 million for construction of the airport connector project in Clark County, expected to cost more than $60 million, said Rudy Malfabon, director of the state Transportation Department.

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Boulder City bypass project hits snag with naturally occurring asbestos discovery

Asbestos work to close Town Hall room

The meeting room of Town Hall will be closed for two weeks starting Monday
while asbestos is being removed from beneath the building, a project that is expected to cost $27,000. Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen continues to explore ways to make major renovations to Town Hall. This fall, voters twice turned down measures seeking an additional $1.1 million for the renovations. In 2010, voters agreed to spend $3.9 million on the project, but updated estimates revealed the increased cost.
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Asbestos work to close Town Hall room

Appeals Court upholds asbestos convictions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the convictions of two men found guilty of violating federal environmental laws during the demolition of a Chattanooga textile mill that contained large amounts of asbestos.

James Mathis and Donald Fillers were convicted in 2012 of conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act in demolishing a textile mill without properly removing asbestos. Prosecutors said the demolition allowed asbestos, which can cause cancer and other fatal diseases, to become airborne.

Fillers was given a four-year prison sentence and fined $20,000, while Mathis was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

In challenging their convictions, both men claimed there was insufficient evidence in their case.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that there was plenty of sufficient evidence to convict the men, and affirmed a district court’s ruling.

Particularly in the case of Fillers, the court said “ample evidence exists … that Fillers knowingly acted with others to unlawfully remove asbestos from the site.”

During the three-week trial, witnesses testified that asbestos littered the demolition site. An employee of a nearby daycare facility testified that the air in the area was so contaminated that children at the daycare were unable to play outside, according to court documents.

Fillers’ violations include failure to wet the material containing asbestos during removal and failure to containerize and timely dispose of the material.

Owners and operators of demolition activities must give a notice — including a description of the location and amount of asbestos — to the Environmental Protection Agency 10 days before demolition.

Prosecutors said Mathis acted fraudulently by agreeing with Fillers to file a false 10-day notice, which vastly understated the amount of asbestos at the site.

“The jury … had ample evidence to conclude that Mathis knowingly violated the removal requirement,” the appeals court said.

Mathis’ attorney did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press. However, Fillers’ attorney, Leslie Cory, said she’s disappointed with the ruling and planned to discuss options with her client.

“Mr. Fillers has several options,” said Cory, who declined to elaborate. “I’m going to go over them with him and he’ll make the final decision of what he wants to do next.”

David Wood, another defendant in the case, was found guilty on similar charges and given a 20-month prison sentence. Fillers’ company, Watkins Street Project LLC, also was found guilty and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine.

Original article – 

Appeals Court upholds asbestos convictions

Side-stepping asbestos worries, mine company scales back sampling plans

A company looking to dig a huge iron mine in far northwestern Wisconsin has scaled back its plan for sampling rock in the area to avoid rock containing hazardous asbestos-like fibers.

The state Department of Natural Resources on Monday released Gogebic Taconite’s revised plan for removing tons of rock from the proposed mine site.

After the company submitted its first bulk sampling plan, the DNR asked for more detail. Since then, the agency disclosed the discovery of grunerite rocks in a form that can release fibers like the ones known to cause deadly lung cancer.

Now Gogebic Taconite says it will take two previously proposed sampling sites out of its plan. Questions about how much asbestos-like material is present would wait to be settled when the company files for a permit to begin mining.

“The grunerite issue has been the subject of a media debate and the removal of these areas leaves the debate to be resolved by the systematic and scientific study of the issue that will be required within the permit application,” the revised plan states. “Our position remains that asbestiform material is unlikely to be present in the reserve, but will defer to a proven and methodical approach to address the potential of asbestiform materials in the future mining permit application.”

The plan promises visual inspections at sampling sites to detect grunerite, and also sulphide, which can cause problems of acid drainage from mine sites.

Company spokesman Bob Seitz didn’t return a phone message Monday. DNR officials in charge of the mining project also were unavailable.

The mine project has been divisive, with environmentalists warning that the asbestiform material is dangerous and that mining could release acids that would ruin waterways and wetlands.

The Legislature this year amended state law to limit the extent to which the DNR can review the project, saying that mining jobs were badly needed.

The company originally wanted to remove 4,000 tons of rock from five sites in the Penokee Hills. The company planned to use excavation equipment or explosives. The DNR wanted more details, though.

The new plan calls for removing samples from three sites instead of five using excavation equipment. The company would turn to blasting if it can’t obtain enough materials.

The DNR plans to review the plan and let the company know what permits will be necessary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

See more here – 

Side-stepping asbestos worries, mine company scales back sampling plans

Specialists to clear Tuam St asbestos


Specialists to clear Tuam St asbestos


GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Last updated 05:00 21/11/2013

tuam st

DEAN KOZANIC

The demolition of the old Christchurch City Council offices in Tuam Street has begun.

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Asbestos will be removed from the former Christchurch civic building in Tuam St while a neighbouring site continues to be dampened down after contamination hot spots were identified.

The multi-storey building was occupied by the Christchurch City Council from 1980 until 2010 and was recently sold to the Central Christchurch Development Unit as the land is earmarked for the new inner-city bus interchange.

Earlier this month, preliminary testing of an adjoining vacant site identified isolated traces of asbestos in the soil between Lichfield St and Struthers Lane.

Ceres New Zealand was awarded the demolition contract for the Tuam St building and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is managing the project. A Cera spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the building contained the potentially lethal substance as well as lead-based paint.

“That will have to be disposed of properly too,” she said.

Both hazards were “normal things” expected of many buildings constructed before the mid-1980s.

Specialists would be handling the removal of all hazardous substances, she said.

Meanwhile, an asbestos investigation had been conducted on the vacant land and the report was due back this week.

Staff would then be able to decide how to remediate the land, she said, but in the meantime sprinklers continued to keep the site damp to minimise dust.


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Specialists to clear Tuam St asbestos

Specialists to handle asbestos issue


Specialists to clear Tuam St asbestos


GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Last updated 05:00 21/11/2013

tuam st

DEAN KOZANIC

The demolition of the old Christchurch City Council offices in Tuam Street has begun.

Relevant offers

Asbestos will be removed from the former Christchurch civic building in Tuam St while a neighbouring site continues to be dampened down after contamination hot spots were identified.

The multi-storey building was occupied by the Christchurch City Council from 1980 until 2010 and was recently sold to the Central Christchurch Development Unit as the land is earmarked for the new inner-city bus interchange.

Earlier this month, preliminary testing of an adjoining vacant site identified isolated traces of asbestos in the soil between Lichfield St and Struthers Lane.

Ceres New Zealand was awarded the demolition contract for the Tuam St building and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is managing the project. A Cera spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the building contained the potentially lethal substance as well as lead-based paint.

“That will have to be disposed of properly too,” she said.

Both hazards were “normal things” expected of many buildings constructed before the mid-1980s.

Specialists would be handling the removal of all hazardous substances, she said.

Meanwhile, an asbestos investigation had been conducted on the vacant land and the report was due back this week.

Staff would then be able to decide how to remediate the land, she said, but in the meantime sprinklers continued to keep the site damp to minimise dust.


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Specialists to handle asbestos issue

Asbestos in rocks won't stop northern Wisconsin mine, GTac maintains

Despite what one geologist calls an “abundant” quantity of asbestos-like mineral on the site, Gogebic Taconite has no plans to abandon efforts to develop a $1.5 billion open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.

Bob Seitz, a spokesman for Gogebic Taconite, said Tuesday there are ways to address the release of any asbestos during the mining process, where rocks are crushed and the iron ore extracted with magnets. He says it could as simple as using water to control dust at the site.

“If it’s something we can handle and if we can demonstrate this to the state and federal governments, then we can move ahead,” says Seitz. “We’ll continue to do scientific testing as required by law.”

A pair of scientists have found at least 100 pounds of asbestiform grunerite in two piles within an old test pit in eastern Ashland County. The discovery is being called a game changer by mine opponents and has brought calls for GTac to stop work on a project supporters say could create hundreds of new jobs and boost the Wisconsin economy.

Grunerite is commonly known as “brown asbestos” and has been linked to lung disease in mine workers, according to a study in Minnesota. Grunerite is also similar to asbestiform particles found in the taconite tailings once dumped into Lake Superior by Reserve Mining, one of the costliest environmental cleanups in U.S. history in the 1970s.

Seitz is familiar with those issues but says mining operators in Minnesota today are familiar with handling the hazardous material and expects that similar procedures can work in Wisconsin.

“They treat it like any other workplace issue,” he said. “It’s been found in parts of the Mesabi Range and they’ve dealt with it there.”

Concerns over the mine project have intensified in the past week following a report in the Ashland Daily Press that UW-Madison Geochemist Joseph Skulan and Northland College Geologist Tom Fitz identified at least 100 pounds of grunerite on the mining site. It is the same mineral identified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.

The Bad River Tribe, which has opposed the project from the outset, has since accused GTac of covering up the issue as part of its public relations campaign to build support for the project. In July, the company wrote the DNR saying it did not think there was any asbestos on the site, even though a staff geologist suspected it following a site visit this spring.

“It’s a deal breaker,” said Bad River tribal chairman Mike Wiggins in a statement. “Geologists and children could walk in there and see it with the naked eye. This is a compelling, premeditation for disaster, a disaster that would befall the Bad River Reservation and non-tribal people of the Bad River Watershed.”

The Penokee Hills Education Project has also called for the project to be tabled because of asbestos issues.

Dave Blouin, a mining expert with the Madison chapter of the Sierra Club, doesn’t dispute there are ways to safely handle asbestos at the mine site, but says those methods may be too expensive to make the project financially viable.

“Even if you can engineer your way out of it, there are huge costs involved,” he says.

Moreover, given the glut of iron ore on world markets, Blouin questions whether investors would ever take a chance at a Wisconsin mine site where asbestos might prove a risk.

“There are much more attractive options out there if you are looking for an iron play,” he says.

The 2003 Minnesota study being cited by mining opponents concluded that exposure to asbestos was the most likely cause of 14 of 17 cases of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer. The study also found that mesothelioma occurs at twice the expected rate among the population of the northeastern region of Minnesota where the Iron Range is located.

GTac spokesman Seitz says he is familiar with that study but noted that spouses of mine workers did not appear to suffer any health impacts, suggesting that any exposure to hazard materials is limited to the mining site itself and can be managed.

GTac earlier said it did not believe asbestos was at the site, based on exploratory work done by U.S. Steel several decades ago. U.S. Steel had the mineral rights for the site in the 1950s but never developed the mine, choosing instead to develop in Minnesota where the ore body was closer to the surface.

Asbestos is a set of naturally-occurring silicate minerals that became increasingly popular as a building material in the late 19th century for its sound absorption, resistance to fire and low cost. It was widely used as electrical insulation and in building insulation.

But in the early 20th century, researchers began to note lung problems and early deaths in asbestos mining towns. Despite those concerns, thousands of tons of asbestos were used in World War II shipbuilding. Later studies found 14 deaths from mesothelioma per 1,000 shipyard workers.

As worker safety and environmental concerns increased in the 1960s, efforts began to reduce public exposure. By the late 1970s, court documents proved that asbestos industry officials knew of asbestos dangers since the 1930s but had concealed them from the public, sparking lawsuits that continue today.

All European countries and much of the developed world have since banned asbestos. The U.S. has tight regulations on asbestos but not an outright ban, despite numerous attempts at legislation. It is still used here in brake pads, automobile clutches, roofing materials, vinyl tile and in some imported cement pipe and corrugated sheeting.

While any mention of asbestos causes great concern in this country, asbestos is still widely used in other places and is commercially mined in Russia. The New York Times recently detailed the asbestos industry in Russia, noting that the mines there are a major health concern both for workers and those living nearby.

Russia has the world’s largest geological reserves of asbestos and mines about a million tons a year, exporting about 60 percent of it. Demand remains strong for asbestos in China and India, where it is still widely used in insulation and building materials.

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Asbestos in rocks won't stop northern Wisconsin mine, GTac maintains

Asbestos clean up to blame for NBN delays, says Anthony Albanese


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Kevin Rudd questions Abbott and Murdoch NBN talks

The Prime Minister has again raised Rupert Murdoch’s motives for criticising Labor’s NBN plan and now wants to know if the media mogul has influenced the Coalition’s broadband policy.

Delays in building the national broadband network can be blamed on work stoppages to clean up asbestos, Broadband Minister Anthony Albanese said.

Referring to leaked NBN Co forecasts published in Thursday’s Australian Financial Review – which suggest NBN Co will connect about 250,000 fewer homes and businesses by June 2014 than it promised in its most recent corporate plan – Mr Albanese insisted the NBN was still on track to meet long-term targets.

“That report relies upon some draft information from NBN Co,” Mr Albanese told ABC radio on Thursday. “What that same report says is that the targets of 2021 completion will still be met.”

Deputy PM and Communications Minister Anthony Albanese blames asbestos clean up for NBN delays.

Deputy PM and Communications Minister Anthony Albanese blames asbestos clean up for NBN delays. Photo: Nic Walker

Telstra recently stopped work at a number of NBN sites, after workers found asbestos in some of the company’s pits. This had caused a “short-term delay”, Mr Albanese said.

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“There’ll be a very short-term delay because right now as we speak . . . in a number of places the rollout has stopped because of the asbestos issue being dealt with,” he said.

“It’s important when it comes to asbestos that nothing is put before the health of workers and the health of communities.”

NBN Co, the company building the network, could make up ground and meet its rollout targets without adding to the cost of the $37.4 billion project, Mr Albanese said.

Opposition broadband spokesman Malcolm Turnbull told Fairfax radio that the delays were only the latest example of a troubled construction process.

Mr Turnbull pointed to recent reports that NBN contractors were holding out for higher fees on new contracts, which has led to speculation that costs, as well as timelines, could blow out.

Further exacerbating NBN Co’s problems was news this week that a major contractor, Syntheo (a joint venture between Lend Lease and Service Stream), would withdraw from the project once current works were complete. It is understood the company has struggled to turn a profit on its NBN work.

“The project is way behind,” Mr Turnbull said. “There are a lot of problems with this project.”

An NBN Co spokesman said of the leaked rollout figure: “It’s not a number we recognise”.

He declined to say whether the report was an accurate reflection of NBN Co’s projections.

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Asbestos clean up to blame for NBN delays, says Anthony Albanese