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EPA To Oversee Asbestos Removal at North Ridge Estates

Release Date: 5/22/2003
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

May 22, 2003

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that in June it will begin an emergency removal of asbestos contamination in the North Ridge Estates neighborhood of Klamath Falls.

The Oregon Health Services Division and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Asbestos recently concluded a study that suggests asbestos fibers may pose a threat to the health of residents exposed to asbestos-laden debris located throughout the subdivision.

According to the EPA’s On-Scene Coordinator Dan Heister, “EPA’s Emergency Response Program allows us to take quick action to minimize potential exposure to asbestos.”
    The EPA will oversee the work by contractors for MBK Partnership under the terms of a consent order. The work will include:
    • removal of asbestos containing materials laying on the surface around residences;
    • air and soil sampling in and around residences to quantify actual and potential health risks posed by the asbestos;
    • removal or stabilization of buried materials containing asbestos; and
    • an EPA evaluation of whether long-term cleanup is needed.

The asbestos contamination originated from the demolition of over 80 old military barracks built at the site in 1944. The siding, roofing and steam pipes for these buildings contained asbestos. After the military closed the facility, it became the campus for the Oregon Institute of Technology. MBK Partnership acquired the property in 1977. In 1979, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and EPA issued an order to MBK requiring abatement of asbestos at the site.

The DEQ was first notified in July 2001 that asbestos remained a problem at the site, and the agency supervised removal of 50-tons of asbestos containing material through a 2002 consent order with MBK. When it became evident that additional work was needed, the DEQ asked the EPA to take further action at the site under federal cleanup authority. The DEQ continues to coordinate and provide assistance to the EPA at the site.