B. F. Goodrich is a tire plant in Miami Oklahoma that was abandoned in 2014. Currently the EPA (which stands for Environmental Protection Agency) is working on removing piles of demolition debris that contain asbestos.
In Miami there was a community meeting about the removal of the asbestos at the B. F. Goodrich plant. The plant ran for about four decades from 1945 to 1986. It operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and over its time operating produced up to 3 million tires. B. F. Goodrich employed nearly 2000 people from the Tri-State Area. On Thursday, June 6th, Mike McAteer, the EPA’s Region 6 on-scene coordinator was running a community meeting at the Miami Civic Center. He was representing the EPA and addressing how to clean up the asbestos at the B. F. Goodrich plant. The EPA plans to spend $2.8 million from the Superfund program. They will remove the 20 piles of demolition debris. It is about 16,000 cubic yards and about 23,000 tons. The piles are building materials, 40% of it being asbestos. The first phase will be removing these piles and the demolition of the oven building as well as the power house. This is expected to be completed by late September. McAteer says that the asbestos was in fine condition when on the roofs but now that it has been on the ground, trampled over, and out in the environment it is falling apart and therefore very easily releasing asbestos fibers into the environment. So obviously this is a concern. The plan for the demolition of the buildings is wet demolishment. The plan for the removal of the piles contaminated with asbestos does take into consideration the danger of asbestos. All the EPA contractors will wear hazmat suits that have air respirators and they will be spraying the debris with water while it is moved to the truck. All the trucks will be lined with plastic. Then this plastic sheet will be folded over the debris for transportation. And all the trucks will be hosed down before leaving the site. All this water is to reduce spread of asbestos. Because when the asbestos is wet it is less likely to become airborne. Then it will be disposed of in Missouri in an approved landfill. Also four monitoring stations will be set up in the area. They will test for asbestos in the air. They are not ideal because they will only run for a few hours a day. On top of that it takes 24 to 48 hours for the data to be processed. According to McAteer if wind speeds exceed 30 miles per hour then the clean up will be shut down. Once the wind speed slows down again to below 30 miles per hour the clean up will resume. Another concern is that both residences and three schools are located in a mile radius of the B. F. Goodrich site. The residents are concerned about the health of the children at the schools. They are worried that a lot of asbestos will be exposed during the cleanup. And if it becomes crumbly and dry it will probably become airborne. Nicholas Crisp is a therapist for the Miami Public School District. He said it is a serious issue. Hundreds of kids go to the schools within the mile radius of the clean up site. On top of that they play outside during recess. And then, potentially, they can be exposed to any airborne asbestos. Crisp thinks that there should be safeguards in place for the children. He finds what the EPA will put up highly unsatisfactory. They have air monitors but it takes so long for the data to be processed that instead of helping them to be proactive, it will just be reactive. Although a lot of the buildings on the site were demolished by the company which owned the site before it was abandoned in 2014 there are still quite a few standing. And they contain asbestos, like all of the other buildings did. People have broken into these buildings. And while breaking in they have ripped out pipes surrounded in asbestos. McAteer says that “it’s not anything you want to come in contact with. We don’t want anyone to be exposed to asbestos from this facility because there’s quite a bit of it out there”. A lot of other break ins have taken place that didn’t include pulling out pipes, but did include taking down drywall and other things. And to combat this security has been increased. Of course this is all bad. But if you didn’t know about the health concerns you wouldn’t know what all the fuss is about. In this town the health issues have come up regarding asbestos. It is well known that asbestos causes mesothelioma, a lung cancer. But it is lesser known that it can cause laryngeal cancer and asbestosis too. Asbestosis is a scarring of the lungs and difficulty breathing. Charity Rogers went to the community meeting and brought along her three year old daughter, Avery. She mentioned that they both have experienced severe health issues since moving in a decade ago. She lives a few blocks away from the plant and her neighbors have been experiencing the same exact symptoms as her. About five years after she moved into her house she got really sick. She had one mass removed from her head and two masses from her body. Every three years she has been in the hospital for about six months. She had always been told that she had a ton of autoimmune diseases. But now she thinks it was probably the asbestos. She wonders why it was a concern before. Now all this is really scary but how does it matter to us? Reading all about how the EPA is being so careful about getting rid of the asbestos and how it is gotten rid of tells us to be really careful in getting rid of asbestos. And how important it is. So if you think that you have asbestos in your home or building, get rid of it now! Call us at (630) 884-5181 now to get rid of your asbestos!