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Costs of asbestos removal can lead to negligence, delays

Like it or not, money and cost drive many of our decisions on a regular basis. Sometimes this can be good and economical; other times this can lead to some compromises that have negative consequences.

For example, imagine you learn that there is asbestos on your property and it needs to be removed. You know that the work is dangerous and it will cost a lot of money to have it done properly. People in this situation often make one of three choices. They can bite the bullet and spend the money to have contaminated materials removed promptly and safely; they find the cheapest way to have the work done by cutting corners and neglecting certain requirements; or they wait for someone else to deal with it.

It seems as though it was this last option that ultimately led to the removal of more than 77,000 cubic yards of dirt that sat on the site of an airport construction project.

Reports indicate that the dirt had been tainted by asbestos-containing floor tiles that had been removed from the airport and stored in a staging area nearby. The debris had been sitting there for weeks, despite the knowledge that it contained asbestos.

Residents who lived nearby expressed concern about the harmful effects of the asbestos, but airport officials claimed it was not airborne and therefore not dangerous. The contractor working on the site said they would remove the dirt, but would charge a whopping $115 per ton.

Ultimately, the county stepped up and paid $4.3 million to have the material removed by a company that charged $54 per ton. It certainly wasn't cheap, but having the dirt removed professionally and properly should ensure that the residents will be safer and the dirt won't just be left to potentially cause more problems.

Seeking an asbestos-removal solution that is effective, safe, quick and cost-efficient is possible, but it can be a challenge and many people ultimately opt for just one of these solutions. However, this can lead to serious issues with compliance and efficacy that can have devastating consequences for the people affected by inadequate, delayed or unsafe removal efforts.

Source: Sun-Sentinel, "Cost to haul tainted dirt? Think millions," Susannah Bryan, June 2, 2015

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