Asbestos is going, going, almost gone from Yellow Brick
So far, so good is the report from city officials charged with removing asbestos from a basement crawl space in Aspen’s Yellow Brick Building. But the job isn’t done yet.Asbestos was discovered at the building, which houses several childcare centers, this spring as part of the city’s ongoing program to inspect for asbestos and determine where the substance is deteriorating to prevent exposure before it happens. It was removed over the weekend by a licensed asbestos removal firm certified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”It all went really well,” said C.J. Oliver, an environmental health specialist with the city of Aspen. “Everything passed with flying colors.”When workers inspected the space more thoroughly over the weekend, however, they discovered more asbestos that will need to be removed.According to a statement released by the city in April, the affected space was an asbestos insulation wrap around a 2-inch pipe in a crawl space in the basement. Although the pipe was in an out-of-the-way location that would take a ladder to get to, there was concern that at some point in the future there may be a problem with the water pipe, and anyone looking to fix the problem might knock down the deteriorating asbestos.”When they got into the crawl space, they found additional fittings that we didn’t know were there,” said Tim Anderson, the city’s recreation director who oversees operations at the Yellow Brick. “It’s the same type of thing, so they’ll come back in about three weeks to complete the removal.” Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance. Its tiny fibers can be inhaled and become lodged in people’s lungs, causing a variety of serious health problems. Those problems, according to health experts, only occur when asbestos fibers are inhaled in high concentrations over an extended period of time.During the weekend asbestos removal, air machines were used to keep air flowing into the crawl space so that no air went from the space into the rest of the building. The area was also fully enclosed in plastic to prevent exposure, and the air in the main building was tested regularly.According to Oliver, the final air-quality test of the building showed zero fibers had been released into the air, and “that’s exactly what we want.”The Yellow Brick Building, which dates back to the 1960s, is located on the corner of Hallam and Garmisch streets. This is not the first time asbestos was found and removed from the building.In August 2000, as many as 80 children had to be relocated to Snowmass Village for several weeks when workmen installing a new boiler broke open the covering on an asbestos-insulated heating pipe in the building’s basement boiler room. The asbestos released from that break was then tracked through the building.”I guess things went really well … much better than last time,” said Christina Holloway, director of Roaring Fork Kids, which leases five classrooms in the building. Anderson agreed the current asbestos removal was – and should continue to be – a smoother and safer process.”It’s much better to have a plan in place then to react to an emergency,” he said.Neither Roaring Fork Kids nor the three other childcare providers in the building were forced to close during the asbestos removal as Friday – the only day children are in the building – was spent securing the area for Saturday’s and Sunday’s removal and cleanup.”It seemed like they really knew what they were doing this time. The inspector came and introduced himself on Thursday and then they did air-quality tests throughout the weekend,” said Holloway. “And they kept us informed the entire time, which was really nice. I feel confident the job was done well.”The final phase of the asbestos removal should take place in about three weeks, according to Anderson. It will again be scheduled over the weekend to minimize the impact on building tenants.Jeanne McGovern’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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