Beaty project workers deal with asbestos

The contractors and Warren County School District officials knew they would be dealing with asbestos during the Beaty-Warren Middle School renovation.

Two weeks ago a chunk of material that probably contained asbestos was disturbed and fell several feet to the floor.

“A week ago Friday, the general contractor dropped the ceiling in the back of the kitchen area,” said asbestos project designer Tim McLaughlin, who is a field technician for Microbac Laboratories. “There was some material on the piping. When the general (contractor) dropped that ceiling, (the material on the pipe) dropped down to the floor.”

The pipe insulating material mixed in with the rubble from the ceiling.

“The other contractors did have concern about it,” McLaughlin said. “We talked to them.”

The event did not cause a release of a significant amount of asbestos, McLaughlin said.

“There’s really no danger until you’re breaking it up and the fibers are airborne,” McLaughlin said. “If that (insulation) falls down to the floor, the fiber release is minimal.”

After workers in the area realized there was asbestos in the material, they reported it and the area was sealed with plastic. McLaughlin said he expected that area to be opened up again on Wednesday.

The insulation had not been moved. “They didn’t cart it around the school,” McLaughlin said.

The asbestos abatement contractor, Amark Environmental, cleaned the area.

“He cleaned the pieces of pipe insulation debris out of the pile of rubble, then vacuumed the rubble,” McLaughlin said.

He said no tests were run on the insulation to determine if asbestos was present. “We just assumed it was.”

Follow-up testing was conducted.

“Yesterday I was there and I ran air samples in that area,” he said.

The initial results came back under the school’s requirements and less than one-tenth of the OSHA requirements, he said. The OSHA requirement is .1 fiber per cubic centimeter or less. The level tested by McLaughlin was less than .01 f/cc.

Another set of results had not been returned Wednesday morning.

That the contractors ran into material containing asbestos was no surprise.

“There’s plenty of asbestos at Beaty,” McLaughlin said. “There’s other piping throughout the school with asbestos wrap.”

He said contractors have been told what to look for and what actions to take when materials suspected of containing asbestos are found.