By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
Crown Enterprise and 21st Century Salvage received violation notices Jan. 22 for improper remediation of asbestos at the former McLouth Steel site by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
During a Jan. 11 inspection, Jeremiah Brown, an Environmental Analyst with the Air Quality Division of the MDEQ, saw Next Generation Environmental Inc., a division of 21st Century Salvage, removing galvanized metal siding coated in Galbestos, which are asbestos fibers incapsulated in asphalt on the metal siding, from the south end mill building in a manner that exposed the inner asbestos and allowed it to to become friable, which means it crumbles into small particles, which can then become easily dispersed.
There was no water being run to keep the Galbestos wet during the abatement to prevent it from crumbling and becoming dispersed. Crumbling Galbestos was also found in a nearby dumpster.
In another building, a maintenance and spare parts warehouse, the remaining part of the building awaiting demolition was the roof, which consists of Galbestos covered panels, which were in poor condition.
When Galbestos ages, the coating hardens and shrinks, and cracks appear in the coating, which exposes the asbestos.
At the site of the former maintenance and spare parts warehouse, several pieces of the Galbestos clad panels in poor condition were lying on the ground and in piles in multiple locations. The asbestos on the panels was in a state where it could easily crumble and scatter.
The MDEQ found pieces of galvanized metal siding that was not disposed of, which was coated in Galbestos, which was also dry and crumbly.
While inspecting the debris piles, a copper pipe wrapped in a white cloth was found lying around which tested postive for asbestos.
By not running water during metal panel removal, dry asbestos that was exposed by the cutting method was allowed to crumble into small particles and disperse.
The demolition remediation at the specific locations where asbestos violations occurred were halted. The MDEQ violation letter notes that 21 days are allowed to submit a response.
The response must list the dates conditions existed that allowed the violations to occur; an explanation for the cause and the length of time of the violation, and an explanation of the corrective actions that are being taken to prevent the violation from recurring, as well as the dates the corrections will be implemented.
Galbestos cladding – asbestos fibers incapsulated by asphalt on metal panels – look similar to other types of metal cladding, so care must be taken to stringently identify all metal panels that are clad with Galbestos.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)