March 24, 2018

Meeting to discuss proposed development on Ambler asbestos site

The BoRit Asbestos Superfund Site Community Advisory Group announced that it is scheduled to meet with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday to discuss a proposed residential construction on the Bast parcel in Ambler.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Upper Dublin Township Building, 801 Loch Alsh Ave., Fort Washington.

The Community Advisory Group works with the EPA to oversee the remediation of asbestos sites in the area. The CAG said the Bast parcel, located near the Ambler train station, has been approved for apartment construction by the DEP but still consists of 90 percent asbestos.

Scheduled to address the meeting is the developer of the project, John Zaharzak. He is expected to explain how he will clean and construct on the parcel, and the DEP is expected to review its guidelines for development of the parcel. – Inquirer staff

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Meeting to discuss proposed development on Ambler asbestos site

Asbestos Work At Enfield High Confuses Parents, Who Say They Weren't Notified

ENFIELD – Parents of students at Enfield High School were confused Monday when they heard that portions of the school would be blocked off so construction crews could begin scheduled asbestos removal.

According to Superintendent Jeffrey Schumann, a letter from his office was distributed to parents of Enfield High students and school staff on Dec. 23, outlining construction work related to asbestos removal that would begin on Jan. 2, as part of the ongoing renovation at the high school.

Some parents took to Facebook, asking Mayor Scott Kaupin why they weren’t notified.

Ken Kaufman, who has a daughter at Enfield High School, said he found out about the asbestos work when his daughter’s boyfriend, who is on the wrestling team, told her they moved their practice and that the school was boarded up.

“I haven’t heard anything about the asbestos cleanup to this day,” Kaufman said Wednesday. “We get these robo-calls for the upcoming school play or something to that effect, but something as serious as this, they still haven’t told anyone about it or haven’t had the time to put something together for parents.”

Another Enfield High School parent, Lindsay Caouette, said she wasn’t notified either.

“At this point, there has still been no communication home regarding the work being done with our children in the school, which is concerning to me,” Caouette said.

Three locations, according to the letter, will be blocked off for asbestos abatement: the cafeteria, girls locker room and lower-level kitchen and mechanical spaces.

Parents were further confused when they received communication that the asbestos removal was due to a burst pipe in the “A” wing of the school.

Schumann said that a pipe did leak on the third floor of the “A” wing and caused flooding on the first, second and third floors. When the tiles on those floors began to dry, he said, crews noticed that the tiles — vinyl asbestos tiles — started to lift off the floor. If they cracked, Schumann said, “that could have been a dangerous situation.”

Schumann said the crews that were already at the school to remove the asbestos in the three previously scheduled areas worked on the worked on the areas affected by the flooding instead.

Schumann said a hard copy of the letter was distributed to students on Dec. 23, and teachers and staff were notified.

Due to the ongoing work, an updated letter will go home with students Thursday, Schumann said. The dates of the work have altered due to the burst pipe, Schumann said. The updated letter will also be posted on the school website, he said, and parents were to receive a phone call Wednesday night.

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Asbestos Work At Enfield High Confuses Parents, Who Say They Weren't Notified

Asbestos fears shut down school

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

It’s hoped asbestos-contaminated demolition material that kept an Auckland primary school closed today will be cleared by Monday.

Bayfield Primary School’s 380 students stayed home today because of an asbestos risk from demolition work at the school’s biggest classroom block.

A multi-million dollar building project has been underway at the Herne Bay school, and their main classroom block, a leaky building, had been demolished over the school holidays.

Board of Trustees chairman David McPherson told parents and caregivers on Wednesday night that testing at the site had shown the possibility of asbestos and the school would be closed temporarily.

Head of education infrastructure service for the Ministry of Education Kim Shannon said testing today had shown no sign of asbestos outside the work site.

She said the Ministry was reassured by the results, however more tests will be carried out before the school is reopened.

Mr McPherson said the majority of the demolition work was carried out during the school holidays, and they had expected it to be finished before school resumed.

“Before the school reopened on Monday we sought a number of assurances from the project team that the site was safe and that they had complied with their removal obligations, we got those assurances and no reason to disbelieve them.”

Mr McPherson said he had been taking calls from concerned parents today.

“The questions that our parents have been asking us are the questions we are asking of the contractors and the Ministry,” he said.

“We’ve got to work through a whole lot of processes to get the right information to be able to get that to our parents.”

Work Safe NZ has given contractors the green light to remove the demolished material from the school, and Mr McPherson expected that to be completed tomorrow.

The school will be swabbed and air quality tests will be carried out to ensure no trace of asbestos is found before it is reopened.

He said he hoped students would be able to return to school on Monday, however plans were in motion for a alternative classrooms for the students if the school must remain closed longer.

“We’re not prepared to reopen the school until we’re totally satisfied,” he said.

The Ministry of Education will be investigating the management of the work site.


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Asbestos fears shut down school

Asbestos found in Waukesha renovation project

WAUKESHA- A viewer contacted CBS 58 recently, concerned about whether she and her fellow tenants were being exposed to deadly Asbestos, we looked into it.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said on Wednesday that at least four workers at a renovation project at 260 South Street in Waukesha were exposed to Asbestos.

The DNR also did more tests at the site on Wednesday.

Mark Davis with the DNR said when the building owner, Berg Management, recently began renovating the garage portion of the building into downtown apartments, they violated NR-447, meaning an Asbestos inspection was not done prior to tearing out some ceilings and building materials.

He also added that materials were put in a dumpster and not properly disposed of.

Initial DNR samples showed Asbestos levels ranging from 19 to 24 percent, anything over one percent is regulated.

Berg Management explained that this may have been an oversight in their planning.

They currently have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Berg said that when they started construction they had all the valid permits from the city.

Construction is currently at a standstill as the investigation continues.

The company insists they will do the proper remediation and hope that construction will kick back up in one or two weeks.

Citations can be given in situations and, if it is serious enough, the Wisconsin Department of Justice can get involved.

The DNR thinks that a furnace may be spreading the asbestos to other tenants, but that isn’t conclusive at this point.

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Asbestos found in Waukesha renovation project

Asbestos forces closure of a Toronto Catholic school

A Toronto Catholic high school has been closed after air ducts tested positive for asbestos.

The testing was done following work on the swimming pool and change rooms at St. Patrick Catholic Secondary School, located in the Greenwood and Danforth Avenues area.

“We sampled the tile grout in the change rooms and it was determined that it contained about 1.5 per cent asbestos,” Corrado Maltese, co-ordinator of occupational health and safety with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) told CityNews. “Although it’s not a lot of asbestos, it is still considered asbestos-containing and there was some concern that some of the dust in that construction area may have actually entered the ventilation of the school.”

The Ministry of Labour asked that the entire building be tested for the presence of asbestos. Four of the buildings’ 17 air ducts came back positive.

Maltese said ducts were cleaned and then as an added precaution he ordered further air quality tests to make sure none of the asbestos became airborne.

Fe de Leon, a researcher at the Canadian Environmental Law Association, says the board is taking the right steps in going above and beyond to make sure the children are safe.

“I think it’s a good start. I think, as it respects to areas where young people spend a good chunk of their days, it’s better to be cautious than not to,” she explained.

“There’s always cause for concern. The threshold for asbestos is set quite low but if you have opportunities to clean it up let’s do that.”

Students have been moved to a nearby school while the testing continues.

Asbestos in schools is nothing new. The TCDSB says 175 of their 201 buildings contain it and that any building built before 1990 likely contains some asbestos.

The TCDSB said that should the air quality testing results come back clean on Tuesday, St. Patrick Catholic Secondary School will reopen on Wednesday.

To read the TCDSB’s 2013 asbestos inspection survey click here.


Asbestos forces closure of a Toronto Catholic school

OSHA cites Ford's Buffalo plant over asbestos

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Federal safety officials have cited Ford Motor Co.’s Buffalo-area plant for alleged asbestos violations.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines of $41,800.

OSHA officials say inspectors found eight violations. One involved a pipefitter who they say was exposed to asbestos while working on a steam line. In other cases, OSHA says workers didn’t wear respiratory protection while exposed to asbestos and that the company did not properly monitor work areas for the potentially cancer-causing substance.

Ford has 15 business days to respond.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker didn’t initially respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

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OSHA cites Ford's Buffalo plant over asbestos

Telstra contractors untrained in asbestos

Some Telstra contractors have been found to have participated only in basic asbestos awareness and competency training, the telco says.

Telstra on Wednesday announced a number of new requirements for its three key National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout contractors in relation to asbestos handling for pit remediation.

Telstra’s preliminary review uncovered incidents of possible non-compliance with asbestos handling guidelines by its contractors.

Telstra has told its contractors that they must make improvements before returning to work, and warned that if they do not comply their contract will be terminated.

“We will not allow recommencement of cement pit remediation work until we are satisfied the necessary safety measures are in place,” Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer Brendon Riley said in a statement.

Asbestos was found at a Telstra pit in Penrith in May as part of the NBN rollout, and more problems have been discovered at telecommunications works in Ballarat, Perth, Adelaide, Tasmania and Queensland.

Unions called for work on the NBN roll-out to stop until Telstra and NBNCo could meet demands on workplace safety.

Telstra said contractors will have to increase supervision of sub-contractors, see that all staff complete mandatory training in asbestos management, and ensure all field staff carry adequate supplies for safe asbestos handling.

Telstra is reviewing each contractor’s sub-contractor supply chain to ensure safety arrangements are clear.

Mr Riley said the number of inspectors and quality specialists would near 200 as NBN volumes increase.

“These specialists will be critical in inspecting and supervising asbestos-related remediation work by contractors and their sub-contractors,” he said.

The majority of asbestos pit remediation and handling is being undertaken as a result of the NBN project, and Telstra said it was working with NBNCo to better engage the community.

This includes advising affected residents about the scheduling of activity, disclosing locations, maintaining transparency on procedures and clear lines of communication to handle public issues.

Telstra has established a hotline for any resident concerned about work in their area.

The number is 1800 067 225.


Telstra contractors untrained in asbestos

Calls for register of homes with asbestos

There are calls for a public register to be made of Christchurch homes containing potentially deadly asbestos.

Rather than removing the asbestos, it’s been decided plasterboard will be used to encase it in more than 4000 earthquake-damaged homes due for repair.

Canterbury District Health Board medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey says future home owners unaware of the presence of asbestos could be put a risk if they disturb it, for example, while undertaking renovations.

He told Radio New Zealand a public register would allow home owners to check whether or not their house had concealed asbestos before doing any work.

If they do, Dr Humphrey says owners will then know to get an appropriate, accredited tradesperson to do the work.

Christchurch-based Labour MP Ruth Dyson, in a statement on Wednesday, said the asbestos looked set to create a potentially fatal legacy, akin to the trail of events which culminated in the huge loss of life with the CTV building collapse.

Leaving asbestos in houses contravened EQC’s own guidelines, she said.

It was also unfair that home owners could not decide to have the asbestos removed, and future owners could be unaware of the asbestos.

“This is obviously about saving money, but at what cost? It is risking lives. The practice must stop.”

Ms Dyson said the matter needed an urgent response from the government.

But a spokesman for Duty Minister Anne Tolley said it was an operational matter for EQC, and the minister would not comment.

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Calls for register of homes with asbestos