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Asbestos Abatement Project One of the Largest EPA Has Ever Seen

A famous production plant in Springfield, Illinois has been flagged for cleanup by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The project is now underway. Once home to 1,500 employees, the Pillsbury Mills plant is a massive 18-acre facility that consists of a 750,000 square feet processing plant, warehouse, storage, and office space that is nearly the equivalent of four retail supercenters. At one point, the plant consisted of 26 structures including office buildings, warehouses, grain-mixing buildings, and grain storage silos. Due to the sheer size of the site, the abatement project is one of the largest many EPA officials have ever seen.

To reduce health and safety hazards that the EPA says were “only getting worse,” the agency decided that it was time to step in. The move, they say, will protect the health of local residents by stopping the ongoing release of asbestos into the environment. Around 11,000 residents live within a single mile of the plant, with the nearest resident living within just 100 feet of the main entrance.

Besides ensuring that workers are properly trained, managed, and protected, the EPA has set up air-quality monitors on the plant perimeter to ensure that asbestos is controlled at the site. According to a recent State Journal-Register (SJR) report, a tanker truck regularly sprays water on debris piles to contain the dust. And this is just outside.

Inside, where the environment is even more hazardous, workers must locate and remove asbestos “floor by floor” and “corridor by corridor,” says SJR. At a cost of $1.8 million, the EPA expects the project to take around six months to complete.  Once complete, area residents, who have seen the plant go from prosperous neighborhood employer to “dangerous eyesore,” will breathe a sigh of relief.

 

Sources

Landis, Tim. "Asbestos Removal Begins at Abandoned Pillsbury Mills Plant." The State Journal-Register. GateHouse Media, LLC, 18 Feb. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

"Mesothelioma." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Oct. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

"Pillsbury Mills LLC Removal Site." EPA. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 09 Mar. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.