The largest asbestos cleanup project in American history is scheduled to end in 2020. With an estimated price tag of $600 million, the goal of the massive project was to clean up the dilapidated and contaminated W.R. Grace and Co. asbestos mine in Libby, Montana. Multiple reports suggest that the toxic site is responsible for more than 200 deaths and 1,000 illnesses, including mesothelioma.
In November 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the work and collaboration of many in Libby, since the mine became a Superfund site in 1999, reports EPonline. To date, the EPA has investigated “more than 8,100 properties” and, as of mid-November 2018, completed the last of “more than 2,600 scheduled property cleanups” located within Libby and Troy, Montana—cleanups that required the removal and replacement of “more than 1 million cubic yards of contaminated soil.”
For the next year, the final phase of the W.R. Grace asbestos mine cleanup will be closed out, and long-term operations and maintenance of the site will transfer to the state in 2020. The EPA reports that its activities at the mine site will continue into the near future.
Regional Administrator for the EPA Doug Benevento said, “this is an incredibly resilient community, and I am honored to recognize those who have made a difference, especially throughout the Superfund redevelopment efforts.”
“As this 19-year-long cleanup draws to a close, we are here to thank local and state agencies and organizations and community members alike for their hard work, perseverance, and for envisioning a vibrant community."
If you have been exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, see your doctor right away. It could take decades for symptoms of mesothelioma to develop so even if you do not have any symptoms, your doctor can refer you to a specialist who can assess your risk of developing disease.
A mesothelioma specialist will set up a personalized monitoring plan, which can help detect mesothelioma earlier and in its most treatable stages. Talk to your doctor about your risk today.
"End of Libby Cleanup in Sight: EPA." EPonline.com. 1105 Media, Inc., 17 Dec. 2018. Web. 20 Jan. 2019.
“What is Superfund?” EPA.gov. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 30 Nov. 2018. Web. 24 Jan. 2019.
"W.R. Grace acquitted in Montana asbestos case." CNN.com. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 09 May 2009. Web. 24 Jan. 2019.