February 23, 2019

Landfill facing asbestos concerns during storm repairs in Madison County

Canastota (WSYR-TV) – The ruins of a former antique store and a karate business have been piled in a heap in Oneida since early July. The biggest obstacle to getting it cleaned up appears to be money.

“They have to truck it all the way out to Seneca Falls. That’s the nearest dump that allows it from our area,” said Heath Waterman, who owns part of the property.

He has a contractor lined up to haul away his portion of the rubble, once he has the money saved to pay for the trip.

“The fact is that we do not accept friable asbestos in the Madison County landfill,” explained Madison County Department of Solid Waste and Sanitation Director James Zecca.

Too small to handle that type of waste, the Madison County landfill is getting swamped with calls from homeowners wondering what to do with materials containing asbestos.

“With all of the storms that we’ve been having, unfortunately people’s homes have been damaged and they are doing some major renovations, and in worse case scenarios it is complete demolition of their homes,” Zecca said.

The landfill director is hoping to educate property owners about the rules. Zecca recommends a survey by state certified inspectors before any renovation work begins, identifying areas for removing friable or non-friable asbestos separately.

Zecca says powdery friable asbestos, often found on pipe insulation and various building materials, can cost up to $200 a ton to unload in other landfills. However, non-friable asbestos on floor tiles or roof shingles, among other things, is accepted at the Madison County landfill, for far less money.

An inspector will help property owners determine the difference before they start tearing a room apart, so they can contain removal of friable asbestos separately, minimizing trips to other landfills.

“Once the building is down, there is no way of identifying where the asbestos is located. So, what the state does is, they step in and say all of the debris, the total house now is considered contaminated with friable asbestos.”

There’s no proof that Waterman’s building contained friable asbestos. But, there’s also no proof it did not contain the waste. He didn’t have an updated asbestos report on record when the City of Oneida ordered an emergency demolition after the wall collapsed.

Now, as a precaution, all of the rubble is classified as possibly containing friable asbestos.

Without the money to transport the debris at the higher rate of disposal, Waterman has a mess that he hopes others can avoid.

“You’d think for something so dangerous they would have more dumps available, so you wouldn’t have to truck it two hours one way,” Waterman said.

Zecca recommends that homeowners hire professionals to handle asbestos.

Residents looking for more information about disposal can call the Madison County Recycling Hotline at 1-800-721-2208 or click here to find details online.


Landfill facing asbestos concerns during storm repairs in Madison County