“Contaminants of concern” at old hospital
Asbestos, lead-based paint, mercury and mold in the old hospital were “contaminants of concern” found by a Colorado agency hired to assess the building for possible renovation for new county office space.
According to a draft of the report by Weston Solutions, Inc., Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START), the four contaminants were discovered in samples taken on March 7 and March 8 and analyzed by Reservoirs Environmental Inc. in Denver, Colo.
Of the 69 samples submitted for laboratory analysis, a total of 18 tested positive for asbestos-containing material (ACM). These samples were taken from 14,760 square feet of drywall throughout the building, 5,150 square feet of floor tile or mastic, 1,500 square feet plaster in the northeast rooms plus pipe insulation, pipe joints, pipe sealant, stair tread, linoleum and a vibration dampener, according to the draft report.
Also found were elevated lead concentrations on the walls, stairs and exterior trim of the building, mercury and mold, all of which were noted as “COC (contaminants of concern) at the site.”
Noted in the report was an interview with County Facilities Supervisor Jerry Bokma in which Bokma said PCB-containing light ballasts (polychlorinated biphenyl) were removed in 2016 and “that there were concerns with mold,” according to the draft report.
Bokma’s office and a workroom have been located in the old hospital for at least the last two years. Bokma has also removed some wall sections during that time, said Stillwater County Commissioner Mark Crago during a discussion meeting Tuesday.
When asked if Bokma was going to be moved out of the building in light of the draft report, Commissioners Maureen Davey and Dennis Shupak said they wanted to hear an explanation of the findings from the people who conducted the testing first.
Crago said he was in favor of looking at pulling Bokma and anyone else in that area.
Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde said she has serious concerns about the report.
The risk listed in the draft report is to “workers” through skin, ingestion and inhalation. Inspectors who collected the samples for testing wore personal protective equipment that included gloves, booties, Tyvek, “and/or” high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) respiratory protection, according to the draft report.
Also noted in the draft report regarding “contaminants of concern” is the following:
“Evaluation of exposure pathway completeness is based upon the current site use as vacant and assumes that no people are currently accessing the Site or will be accessing the Site other than workers during future redevelopment.”
The report goes on to state that if the current use status changes, “exposure pathways should be re-assessed as they may alter the pathway completeness presented in this report and require further evaluation prior to conducting any activities or change in use at the Site.”
Bokma, and his employees, have been working in sections of the building for the past few years.
Weston recommended further testing be conducted in one specific location, as well as contracting an accredited asbestos remediation company “to determine appropriate remedial actions to address the ACM at the site and cleanup phase of the redevelopment.”
“ACM remediation is recommended prior to any renovation or demolition activities at the Site to permanently mitigate exposure risk.”
The same recommendation was made regarding the lead-based paint, being an accredited lead remediation company.
“Dust control methods should be implemented for the debris. All work performed should be done so by an EPA Lead-Safe certified firm. It is recommended that construction debris disposal facility be contacted to determine if Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) samples will be required,” according to the draft version of the report.
Mold was found in the crawlspace and the utility tunnel that should be removed upon renovation.
The inspections were conducted by Montana Accredited Asbestos Building Inspector Michael Cherry and EPA Certified LBP Inspector Elliot Petri.
The study was conducted at the request of the Stillwater County Commissioners and paid for by a federal grant.
While clarifying that the estimate was “not meant for budgetary estimates” but merely conceptual cost estimate, Weston said remediation of all the contaminants found would run approximately $206,000, according to the draft version of the report.