St. Cloud, Minnesota’s Roosevelt Education Center upcoming clean-up project has not only the state health department concerned, but the pollution control department as well, after an exorbitant amount of asbestos is expected to be released from the building.
According to Bruce Lange, a level 3 industrial hygienist, Minnesota’s Department of Health requires that at least “at least 160 square feet, 260 linear feet or 35 cubic feet of friable asbestos-containing material being removed.” However, with such a massive clean-up, the asbestos amount will more than likely greatly exceed the standards.
The clean-up comes after a summer fire that left the Roosevelt building completely destroyed. The overnight fire took several hours to put out. Citizens were saddened and shocked that the 95-year-old historical building was left in crumbles.
Since mid-June, the building crumbles have sat in 100-degree temperatures, prompting concern from Dick Soyka, the former commissioner of Benton County, whose son attends school in the area.
“I’m concerned about asbestos blowing into the wind. I’m concerned about breathing that stuff, and it just lays there,” Soyka stated.
Unfortunately, Minnesota has no regulations on how long a demolished building sits until a clean-up begins.
“The department of health regulations really kick in when removal starts. We don’t have any regulations that start with a pile laying there,” Lange said.
The clean-up is anticipated to start this month, and workers have already started lining up trucks in order to place to crumbles inside the truck beds and take them to the appropriate waste site. The clean-up is expected to take a few weeks.
With any major clean-up, there is always the risk of dust permeating throughout the area, even though works plan to wet the asbestos to reduce the risks. For extra precaution, the $256,000 project will have only state-certified, experienced asbestos abatement workers working around the materials. The crew contracted for the project is well-aware that any violations may result in liabilities for them, as well as the school.
“It’s the duty of the contracting entity, basically the school district, to make sure the contractor they’re hiring to do this work is properly credentialed. It’s a very regulated business in which we work directly with the MPCA,” said Mike Adair, president of Legacy Services Corporation, the company contracted to work on the project.
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