EnviroVantage-experts in asbestos abatement

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Courtesy of EnviroVantage

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals with long, thin fibrous crystals. It was sometimes referred to as the 'miracle mineral' because of its beneficial properties such as insulation and fire protection. In the U.S., chrysotile has been the type of asbestos used most commonly.

Its long fibers are often found in a wide variety of materials such as vinyl floor tiles, mastic, sheetrock, joint compound, shingles, siding, and thermal pipe insulation. Asbestos has had many positive uses including heat resistance, electrical insulation, flame-retardant and insulating properties, resistance to chemicals and great strength and flexibility. Even though asbestos seemed to be the perfect material to improve many things, the phrase 'yesterday's solution is today's problem' is very true. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Although we are aware of the dangers of asbestos now, it is a little late for the ship yard workers who sprayed asbestos onto the hulls of ships and then contracted mesothelioma years later - in reaction to the fibers lodging in the worker's lungs and laying dormant for 20 years. Many countries have banned most uses of asbestos since the 1980s.

Because asbestos has had so many uses, it is found in virtually every building that is presented to the market for renovation. Whether it is in the 9' by 9' floor tile (almost always asbestos as compared to the newer 12' by 12'), pipe wrap insulating the exposed pipes coming out of a boiler or furnace, or panels on the walls or ceiling, asbestos is a serious health hazard.

We at EnviroVantage have been dealing with asbestos abatement for over 20 years and have developed expertise in recognizing the best techniques as well as frequently innovating new ones to remove environmental hazards. When we combine that expertise with our selective demolition skills and lead abatement knowledge, we ensure that the developer / renovator does not have to stop a project (throw money away) due to the discovery of an unexpected hazard.

Recently, we teamed up with Bruss Construction in a renovation project that involved multiple types of asbestos abatement combined with selective demolition - exactly the type of combination of needs in which we excel. In the small N.H. town of New London, EnviroVantage was selected to participate in the conversion of a 4,000 s/f refrigeration warehouse to a modern dental clinic.

Greg Gutgsell of 125 Newport Rd. Holding LLC had the inspiration of turning the Hayward Refrigeration Warehouse, (a 1948 industrial warehouse) into a clean and attractive building that would house a clinic serving the area between Concord and Hanover centers. The challenge was that there was over 5,000 s/f of transite panels, asbestos wrap around the refrigeration pipes, and several hundred s/f of asbestos vinyl composite tiles (VCT).

The general contractor, Bruss Construction confidently chose EnviroVantage to perform both the asbestos abatement services and the selective demolition of the interior of the building—based upon experience in previous conversions. We worked closely with The Scott Lawson Group of Concord, N.H., (an industrial hygienist and testing laboratory) to ensure complete understanding of the scope of the cleanup and the requirements for final clearance.

Once the state of N.H. DES was notified of the project and the plans were approved, we started the task on March 20th. For those who have never been involved in an asbestos abatement effort, the first step, required by OSHA, was to build a containment room within the facility using 6mm poly sheets, and set up a negative air machine equipped with a HEPA filter and exhaust tubes exiting the building. This safety oriented requirement protects both the work force and the neighborhood.

The next step was the actual abatement process, removing both the transite panels on the walls and ceiling and double bagging them in large contractor 6mm plastic bags sealed with duct tape. Prior to the removal of the containment, the area needed to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure that there were no friable (real bad) fibers left from the effort. After the cleaning, Scott Lawson personnel returned to check the work and provide the owner with a clearance certificate. Disposal to an approved land fill by an approved transporter completed the abatement portion of the project.

After the abatement service was successfully finished, attention was then turned to the needs of Bruss Construction by selectively demolishing parts of the building internals to prepare for the actual conversion to a dental clinic.

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