Many old and historic buildings in Boston and across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were built during an era in which asbestos was heavily used during construction. According to a recent article from WAMA, a new large-scale redevelopment project is now in the works in Ludlow, Massachusetts.
The project site is situated along a mile and half river walk and is part of the historically designated Ludlow Mills. The mill has not been in operation for many years and has been fenced off from people for over 160 years. The site is on approximately 170 acres and contains more than 60 buildings.
While this project was in planning stages for many years, the main problem was finding funding and gaining approval to complete a large scale asbestos abatement (removal) project necessary before construction and renovations could begin. Asbestos abatement became possible with state and federal funding, which cost millions of dollars to complete. Asbestos abatement was completed over a five-year period.
As our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys can explain, state and federal environmental protection law requires an inspection to be performed prior to submitting a plan for regulatory approval. A certified asbestos abatement company must perform the inspection, which involves a visual inspection by a person trained in asbestos identification and a collection of samples to be sent to a materials testing facility. While those familiar with asbestos abatement are generally able to identify materials which possess telltale signs they contain the deadly fibers, it is only through a microscopic examination asbestos presence can be confirmed.
As we have seen all too often, landowners who do not want to spend money for an asbestos inspection, will try to guess whether they have asbestos, or just ignore the possibility altogether. They will then have laborers who are not adept at asbestos identification perform the work, so they won’t know they are being exposed to the deadly asbestos-laden material. After performing demolition work without proper safety equipment, and without wetting the asbestos material to reduce dust exposure, they will then place the material in a dumpster or trashcan with ordinary construction debris. This is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal. It also places sanitation workers and landfill workers at risk for asbestos exposure, as well at the community at large, as unsealed asbestos waste makes its way to the dump.
In order to legally remove asbestos during demolition or renovations, the work must be done by a trained and certified crew. The contractors must place signs around the work area clearly stating asbestos abatement work is in progress and tent or otherwise shield the work area to prevent asbestos dust from escaping into the environment. They must then wet the asbestos material and place it in properly sealed approved hazardous waste removal containers for transport to an approved waste handling facility.
The workers must also wear ventilators or respirators and protective clothing they will remove at the end of shift to avoid taking the material home where they can expose their family members to deadly asbestos fibers, as happened on a regular basis in the past.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Landmark Ludlow Clock Tower Building Eyed For Redevelopment, April 15, 2015, WAMC
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