Published on:

Woburn Approves Risky Asbestos Removal Permit Request

According to a recent news article from Wicked Local Woburn, city council officials have finally granted approval on a permit request to remove asbestos after much speculation they would not agree to allow the project to move forward.

1327707_old_water_valve.jpgThe reason this permit request faced strong initial opposition was because an asbestos abatement company wanted permission to store asbestos debris at its headquarters within city limits. It was not until petitioners withdrew this specific request that city council members gave the stamp of approval.

Council members were concerned about storing highly dangerous asbestos debris in an area designated as a flood plain. This was after being allowed to put their new headquarters within the limits of a city, which has already spent over $5 million in taxpayer dollars to treat contaminated water.

The asbestos was to be stored in Woburn by another company who city officials had previously kicked out of their city. This company, located in nearby Billerica, Massachusetts, was found to have been handling hazardous materials in Woburn without any necessary permits prior to being forced to relocate in 2010.

Abatement company officials responded to city council’s concerns about the owner “being a bunch of cowboys,” by saying the storage company was now under ownership of a different group that conducts all of their operations in a completely safe and professional manner.

With the request to store asbestos at the new company headquarters being withdrawn, city council members finally approved the project, under a condition no asbestos material could be brought into the area for any period of time. This includes both storage and processing.

As our Boston mesothelioma injury attorneys can explain, asbestos removed from a building must be wet to prevent dust from being released into the air, and it must be sealed in approved plastic containers. Once sealed in appropriate asbestos storage containers, it can be taken to a landfill authorized to accept and process asbestos material or taken to a toxic waste disposal facility certified to handle asbestos material.

Once asbestos is removed from a building, or even during removal, the asbestos often becomes what industrial professionals refer to as friable asbestos. Friable asbestos is capable of being crushed under the pressure of a human hand, and is extremely dangerous in this state, because it will release deadly asbestos fibers.

The fear concerning the flood plain was because, if the area were to flood, the deadly asbestos material could be dispersed through the area and carried to storm drains, which flow into local water sources or could be absorbed into the ground, where it could also become part of the city’s water supply.

If asbestos fibers were ingested with water, they would be just as dangerous as if they had been inhaled in airborne dust particles. Once inhaled or ingested into the human body, the fibers can develop into a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma.

However, it often takes between 20 and 50 years for exposure victims to develop noticeable symptoms of the disease. By this point, victims usually have a very short time left to live. This is a major reason companies seeking profits are willing to risk others’ safety, because it will be decades before they have to deal with any lawsuits, and they reap immediate profits from illegal asbestos abatement.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:
Woburn City Council OKs demolition company petition, Wicked Local Woburn, March 13, 2015
More Blog Entries:
Bankrupt Asbestos Producer Sets Aside $375.5 Million for Future Mesothelioma Victims, Jan. 24, 2015, Boston Asbestos Injury Lawyer Blog