The small town of Vienna, WV is one step closer to completing the cleanup of an abandoned Johns Manville plant. The former fiberglass production facility sits on 33 acres of land and has been an eyesore for the local residents since it was shut down in 2008. This has been an ongoing project that started in 2014 when the Vienna City Council approved an ordinance allowing the City to purchase the property from the previous owner, a development firm. Vienna's mayor and a city council member had the opportunity to walk through the property with a remediation specialist. It was clear that the previous owners had improperly demolished structures, leaving piles of asbestos-contaminated debris behind. The debris has been successfully removed, but there are still structures on the site that will eventually be removed, including a smokestack, an office building, and a small warehouse. Residents would eventually like to repurpose a large portion of the area for residential use.
Every day, structures across America are torn down to make room for new and improved buildings. Schools, shopping malls, and business parks are receiving much-needed upgrades, but some are running into unexpected problems, like asbestos.
In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their final plans to clean up the asbestos within Libby, Montana. Libby is considered an Asbestos Superfund site by the EPA, meaning it is some of the nation's most contaminated land. Asbestos poses a threat to residents living in Libby.
Despite the known hazards, asbestos continues to be handled improperly all over the world. In countries like the United States and Canada, trained and untrained individuals disturb and dispose of materials containing the substance in dangerous and illegal ways, every day.
In Pensacola, Florida, a robot is being used to remove asbestos from the former Pensacola News Journal building before it is demolished. While the robot takes just as much time and money as manually removing the asbestos, it is both more environmentally friendly and safer for workers involved with the demolition.