Numerous residents in the Bozeman, Montana area reached out to a local media station this week with concerns regarding the asbestos clean-up taking place at a community supermarket. Although the project was scheduled to wrap up in July, the ongoing project has sparked concern after they claim no one was answering their questions.
According to reports, Heebs Market, located off of East Main Street in Bozeman, is undergoing an asbestos project that keeps being prolonged due to positive soil quality samples.
Although the project is now scheduled to conclude next week, local business owners in the same shopping area as Heebs Market are also concerned. Not only is the construction equipment and other materials blocking walk areas, but some residents are afraid to be around the asbestos work until it’s complete.
Glen Deal, owner of Lockhorn Cider House on nearby Wallace Avenue, told Montana’s NBC News that business has been tough since the asbestos project began, primarily because it’s been difficult for customers to reach his store.
“The most objective thing to blame would be that ugly hole,” said Deal, referring to a sidewalk that was removed by workers during the project.
However, as difficult as business owners may have it, Director of Economic Development for the City of Bozeman, Brit Fontenot, stated that they must comply with standard of safety that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requires, even if it means the project takes longer.
“We have to follow the DEQ’s strict guidelines on excavating .You have to stop work, you have to take that sample, and you have to send it to the lab,” said Fontenot.
In addition, Fontenot explained that while the project is certainly inconvenient for both business owners and customers, long-term safety is the highest priority at this point. In fact, along with Heebs Market, several other businesses in Bozeman are expected to start asbestos projects as well.
Meanwhile, according to the Gallatin City County Health Department, the asbestos must stay wet and covered, which is another precaution taken to ensure public safety.
“They’re very cautious about raising that dust, so any project whether it be here in Bozeman or elsewhere, you keep a very careful about raising that dust, so there’s simple precautions to do, but they have to be done,” said the city’s Environmental Director.
Currently, the cost of the project is around $70,000. However, as long as guidelines are followed, the city will be reimbursed 80% of the costs.
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