Air quality being monitored around asbestos debris

Marco Island citizens are concerned about the cleanup of debris at the Veterans Community Park site.

The Marco Eagle revealed Thursday that Quality Enterprises, a contractor being sued along with the city, will do the work starting Sept. 4.

The massive pile of rubble contains pieces of concrete asbestos pipe from old water and sewer lines that serviced the city. The pipes were removed and replaced with new ones by Quality Enterprises, the contractor for the Collier Boulevard reconstruction project.

Residents who live near and far from the site want to know whether the cleanup will be handled properly so that asbestos fibers don’t contaminate the air. They also want to know who will pay for the cleanup and how much it will cost.

City Manager Bill Moss sent City Council members and department supervisors a memo Wednesday, saying that the city had discussions with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Quality Enterprises about the cleanup. The contractor drafted a plan to remove the concrete piles “and the remaining soil, including any remaining pieces of asbestos concrete pipe,” Moss said in the memo.

“We recognize that there is a pile of material out there that needs to be handled,” Jon Iglehart, director of the South District of DEP, said Thursday. “Asbestos is dangerous when it’s airborne and breathed.”

He said that city representatives requested that the DEP review the process for removing concrete from the pile for reuse in the Collier Boulevard project.

A volunteer from Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Solutions holds a piece of concrete asbestos pipe found near the Veterans Community Park site.

Submitted photo

A volunteer from Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Solutions holds a piece of concrete asbestos pipe found near the Veterans Community Park site.

Marco Island Public Works Director Rony Joel said that the plan includes separating the pure concrete remnants from soil containing asbestos pipe fragments and crushing it. No pipe containing asbestos would be crushed. Instead it would be stored for disposal at an approved landfill off of Marco.

Water will be sprayed on the material as it is moved to prevent any asbestos fibers from becoming airborne. Any water containing asbestos is not supposed to be allowed to leak into the ground. Trained workers will be on site to ensure that the asbestos is handled properly.

“The remaining pile will have primarily dirt, smaller pieces of concrete and asbestos material,” Iglehart said.

He noted that the city must provide an “assessment plan” to the DEP that will determine what’s in the remaining pile when the recyclable material is removed. A plan to take care of any pollutants must also be provided if it’s necessary.

The city’s public works director said air quality has been monitored while the city waited for the DEP to review the plans. The tests have shown no health threat or environmental impact, Joel said.

Iglehart noted that any health risks from the pile or the crushing operation are probably minimal. “There are levels that are considered not hazardous,” he said, based on Environmental Protection Agency rules for levels of exposure and exposure time.

The cost of the cleanup will be paid by Quality Enterprises and not the city, Moss said. The contractor is also paying for monitoring by American Management Resource Corp. Moss said AMR is well-qualified to monitor removal of concrete asbestos pipe.

“Their work will include the monitoring of air quality,” he said. “Any detected problems will result in the shut-down of the work until other means of handling the construction material is developed.”

Residents who want further information should contact Public Information Coordinator Lisa Douglass at 389-5037.

© 2006 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 6

rogerhall59 writes:

We all owe CARES a debt of gratitute for penetrating the city's wall of cover up and misleading statements. The contaimination was far greater last winter when all of the asbestos was being crushed. Our city manager went on record that there wasn't any asbestos. Councilman Tucker claimed that some of the asbestos was planted to make the city look bad and he had pictures to prove it which he has never produced. He further stated this was an unnecessary clean up . How many thousands of dollars in legal fees has the city spent of our tax money trying to protect this cover up? How much more are they going to spend on legal fees in the future? Why was CARES forced to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees forcing the city to protect its citizens? This is outrageous and deplorable! If it were not for the intervention of CARES, this dangerous condition would have been swept under the rug and probably would be continuing on North Collier as we speak. Not only does the City owes its citizens an apology for the false and misleading statements about a major health hazzard, but the staff and councilmen who made them during their official duties should be publically admonished. The city claims they can't talk about the asbestos situation because of the lawsuit. The reason it obvious: the city is wrong and if they talk about it the truth will come out. It is time for our honest council persons to step forward if want to earn our respect and your credibility. Roger Hall

jwputnam writes:

Dear Mr. Hall,

Your letter is excellent and right on the money, but I would guess that ILOVEMARCO (that's Bev) and MARCOFACTS (that's Tarik) are going to rant and rave that you have slandered the city and your comments are mean and deplorable. They will use their normal very crude expressions however.

Just thought that I would let you know that any normal human being would find your comments to be well thought out and reasoned. I see no hate speech whatsoever. That seems to come from your opponents...who then take the tactic of accusing YOU of being disrespectful and hateful. Get it?

You see, it is OK for Moss and Tucker to libel the citizens as long as they have Bev and Tarik in their corner. I am afraid that is justice on Marco Island.

John Putnam

EdFoster writes:

It is good to see Quality Enterprises take responsibility for cleaning up Site A of our park especially since they have denied responsibility for mishandling asbestos in their (I hope futile) attempt to avoid FDEP/EPA fines. They dug up the tons of A/C pipe Mr. Moss said were removed from South Collier. They crushed it according to Mr. Joel's testimony to the City Council. They piled it along Collier Boulevard and in vacant lots used as staging areas along Collier (pictures are available to any who are interested). They moved it to our park dribbling it out the back of their trucks as they went. They transported it to the Naples landfill, presumably without the required EPA records since no one has been willing to produce them. They moved pipe to Site C of our park ... according to Mr. Moss at the City's request to hold down some mulch. Somehow or other those presumably large, presumably non-friable pieces of pipe got to be thousands if not millions of small definitely friable pieces of pipe by a mysterious force never identified. The City accepted liability for the Site C cleanup and thereby the liability for future health claims. And now, Quality Enterprises has agreed to pay for the cleanup of Site A! I'm SO relieved!

Ed Foster
Chairman, C.A.R.E.S. Inc.

ILOVEMARCO writes:

Well, if it isn't Marco's infamous three--Roger Hall, John Putnam, and Ed "I'm an Intelligent Chemist" Foster. None of you give a rat's rear end that asbestos was found miles away from your homes at a construction site. You only care about using any piece of dirt you can find to discredit the decent, hard working leaders of this great city who want you to stop crapping in your yards in those messy failing septic tanks of yours. You're a bunch of character assassins who need to leave the island. Hey--if this island is so unsafe because of asbestos "shards," why are all of you still here? To save us? Jeesh what would we do without the likes of you to serve our community like you do? Why I last saw each of you volunteering at.... um.... helping that group.... um, delivering some food for.... Oh yeah--that's right. You just want your septic tanks. So you bang the asbestos drum loud and clear. And NO ONE is listening. You'll all also be paying back us taxpayers for those silly lawsuits you filed. Hope you're saving your money. You'll need it for septic tank removals, sewer connections, and repayment of legal fees for frivilous lawsuits. God'll get ya for the character assassinations.

lowus writes:

Ya CARES God'll will'll get for character assassinations
But something tells me the city is gonna need God'll when the the voters return to the island and find out they're voices mean NADA!
ILOATHEMARCO maybe we should keep God'll out of this mess.

EdFoster writes:

Dear ILOVEMARCO:

Why are you afraid to identify yourself?

And speaking of "character assassins," have you ever read what you write? Your wild statements are so far off the wall, you make a fool of yourself and those citizens you hope to arouse. If I were a City Councilor, I'd distance myself from you as far as possible. The citizens of this island deserve an honest fact-based debate on the issue. You make a mockery of that desire and wish to substitute hateful name-calling. I'll say a prayer for you.

Ed Foster
Chairman, C.A.R.E.S., Inc.

P.S. My degrees are in physics and business administration. I'm not a chemist.

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