Milwaukee Superfund cleanup includes asbestos remediation

9 May 2017 by Sarah Mahan under News

Paducah Asbestos Removal 7450132130 100x100 Milwaukee Superfund cleanup includes asbestos remediationClean up of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s fourth Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) site in the last five years is underway.

Late last month the EPA began a hazardous materials cleanup in the former VE Carter School of Excellence in Milwaukee after airborne asbestos was found to be so thick in some rooms “it looked like snow,” according to the EPA. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the project is expected to cost the EPA up to $423, 356, and asbestos remediation is only a portion of it. Other risks in the building include “flammable and corrosive chemicals, poisons, PCBs, lead, hazardous ash and mercury from switches and thermometers,” according to the news source.

The school was built in the late 1800s and has housed public schools, a charter school and a day care until 2009, when a fire damaged the building and the company that owned it became delinquent on its taxes. The city foreclosed on the property in 2016, but by that time, the building had been vandalized and looted despite the city trying to keep it secure.

“This is what happens with these old buildings when they lose a steward,” said Kathy Halbur, on-scene coordinator for the EPA’s  Emergency Response Program, which focuses on incidents and properties that pose an immediate threat to human health or the environment. “When people start destroying the building, they open themselves to exposure.”

Asbestos is known to cause cancer, including mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that can occur decades after just one exposure to asbestos. Authorities do not yet know how long the building’s cleanup will take.

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