The old city library located in downtown Billings, Montana has been set to be demolished for quite some time now, but after a contractor and subcontractor dispute stalled the project, asbestos has stalled it even further, after the harmful mineral was found littered throughout parts of the the building.
According to local reports, the asbestos, which was found in two sections of the building, was not detected by asbestos inspectors during a an inspection performed prior to starting the project. However, on April 14, Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received a tip from Bruce Ingraham, an asbestos abatement contractor. Ingraham, who was not a part of the original inspection of the building or associated in any way with the project, informed DEQ that asbestos was indeed present.
Shortly after, the demolition project was halted so that DEQ workers could inspect the site. While looking through a pile of trash and debris at the job site, one of the DEQ inspectors found at least eight materials that was not listed on the original inventory list. After testing, two of the materials were found to have asbestos. A letter was sent to the Billings Public Library, L & M Excavating, and Jackson Contractor Group, detailing the steps that must be taken before the demolition project can resume.
One of the steps included submitting a plan to the DEQ as to how and when the asbestos will be removed. The asbestos removal plan was given to the DEQ last Thursday, and if all goes according to plan, the demolition can continue on June 27.
The asbestos removal, however, will require more time, man power, and money. Along with wetting the asbestos down, it must also be placed onto trucks lined with plastic and taken to an appropriate disposal site.
So far, there has been no indication if any of the workers were affected by asbestos exposure. Yet, diseases caused by asbestos typically have an extremely long latency period; sometimes it takes up to 50 years before an asbestos-related disease surfaces.
In the meantime, contractors are hoping to have the project done by October of this year, but it will greatly depend upon the DEQ’s approval and how fast they can get started.
It’s important to note that if you or a loved one have been injured from asbestos due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain, suffering, and much more. Thousands of workers have been exposed to the dangers of asbestos fibers after negligent manufacturers supplied the mineral to job sites across the world, yet failed to inform people of the hazards associated with asbestos inhalation and ingestion.
For more information on your legal rights and options, we invite you contact our award-winning asbestos law firm today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.