According to a recent news article from The Stratford Patch, asbestos has just been discovered in the soil at a major project on Interstate 95 (I-95) in Connecticut. All construction work and roadside maintenance has been suspended while environmental agency workers can assess the scope of the contamination and work on a plan to deal with the toxic asbestos fibers.
As part of the standard protocol when doing roadside maintenance that involves disturbing the soil, Department of Transportation inspectors will set up air quality monitoring stations and take soil samples to check for the presence of any toxic materials. This can include asbestos, which was what was found in this case, as well as radon, other radioactive material, as well as any number of types of toxic waste. The state health department as well as the DOT is working on this problem, but they have both issued statements saying that they do not believe that the asbestos in the soil poses a threat to workers or the community as of this time, but they are not taking any chances and will continue to work to resolve the problems.
This is the not the first time contaminated soil has been located on this particular roadside project. Prior to this, they found industrial waste and tied it to a particular manufacturer. They have not yet discovered the source of the asbestos material.
There are a variety of reasons that asbestos can end up in soil. For many years, and unfortunately still today, liquid sludge from industry that contains asbestos and other toxic substances has been illegally dumped on land and poured into our waterways. Additionally, asbestos debris has been dumped alongside roads an on other public land. Our Boston mesothelioma attorneys are even aware of cases where debris containing deadly asbestos fibers was illegally dumped on private land without the owner knowing.
There are basically two things that can be done when asbestos is discovered in the soil. One older approach was known as capping, where more soil and an asbestos-proof substance like concrete is placed on top of the contaminated soil to keep the fibers form escaping. This is not ideal, as it is hard to make sure all of the asbestos is under the cap and also a recent study has shown that asbestos fibers under the cap may be able to move around freely as the soil shifts, leading to possible contamination.
The second option is to remove the contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil. This is an expensive undertaking, and it requires a lot of care to make sure the deadly fibers to do not escape the construction site. When dealing with dump truck loads of contaminated soil, they will screen the area with plastic and then use industrial vacuums to keep the air pressure negative in the work area.
This particular area was once home to many industrial firms that regularly manufactured asbestos products and used asbestos in their factories for non-production purposes.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Asbestos Found at I-95 Project Site in Stratford: DOT Officials, November 8, 2016, By Vincent Salzo, Stranford Patch
More Blog Entries:
New Effort to Strengthen Asbestos Litigation, June 28, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog