Abestos abatement underway in Fitzgibbbons


Tyler McNeil

Creative Editor

Toxic and dangerous asbestos is being removed from Fitzgibbons Hal by regional contractors, beginning last week and continuing through December.

The project aims to abate a combined 8,161 square feet of non-friable floor tiles and floor expansion joint caulk on the hall’s stairwell and third floor. The asbestos abatement is a small fraction of the college’s Fitzgibbons Hall renovation project.

“It’s not disturbed. It’s not exposed. But before you renovate, it needs to be done by an abatement contractor,” said Laurie Vivekanand, director of the department of environmental health and safety.

“As with all renovation projects, we take a look at all of the environmental issues and make sure they are managed properly,” she said.

Niram Construction Co., based in Boonton, N.J., is removing the asbestos. Niram won the bidding for the Fitzgibbons demolition project last year.

Local Albany environmental consulting, testing and mitigation service Alpine Environmental Services, Inc. was contracted to monitor the air quality of the project area.

After the final report for Fitzgibbons Hall renovations was issued, a pre-renovation survey for asbestos was completed in August of this year. Asbestos pre-renovation surveys are mandatory in the state of New York.

The project calls for other waste such as general trash, scrap metal and electronic waste to be eradicated before the building’s demolition project gets underway. “We’re testing certain waste streams to see if [anything] is hazardous or not,” Vivekanand said.

Asbestos was removed on the second floor of Brahan Hall for three weeks this past summer. Carpeting installed nearly a decade ago by the physical plant, was removed and replaced in June to abate asbestos in Brahan.

“The reason why that was done is because we wanted new carpet in certain areas of Brahan [Hall] and in order to remove the carpet, you risk pulling up the floor tiles underneath that contain asbestos,” said Vivekanand.

According to the EPA, exposure to asbestos can result in asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Asbestos was previously used in buildings such as Brahan and Fitzgibbon’s Hall for insulation purposes and as a fire retardant before becoming strictly regulated. Asbestos can be found in items ranging from floor tiles to packaging products.

Asbestos is monitored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Labor and Health, which has regulated the training of workers in abatement, encapsulation, removal, repair, enclosure, disposal and transport of asbestos since the 1980s.

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