Removal of Asbestos and Other Hazardous Materials
Update from the Building for the Future Steering Committee dated October, 2016
You may have heard that we tested for and found asbestos and other hazardous materials as part of our building project. Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin, durable threads. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been used widely in many industries. Over time, it has been learned that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause various respiratory diseases. The hazardous materials are metals that were found in soils outside the building.
Neither of these discoveries are a surprise. Given the age of the building, we thought it likely we would find that asbestos was used in some of the construction material. We also knew that part of our site had been used as an informal “dump” before construction of the church. Before any other work is done, a certified asbestos abatement contractor will remove the asbestos. Some heavy metals were found in soil samples taken outside along the alley and Hampden Avenue as part of the relocation of the alley. Our contractor, Faurot, is familiar with this material and will ensure it is handled and disposed of appropriately.
We do not believe either of these conditions posed any risk in the past during our regular use of the building. The contamination in the soil was covered by asphalt and is not at a level of health concern given the lack of direct contact. It also does not pose a concern to ground water since neither household or irrigation water from our property is used. As for the asbestos, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, “Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in good condition should not pose a hazard to building occupants. If these materials can be maintained in good condition, it is recommended that they be left alone…” Any health risk from asbestos would be related to long-term exposure, which would have needed to be much longer and greater than our staff, children and parents would have experienced.