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Safety And Security

Presence of asbestos hampers water damage repair

March 23, 2010
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PITTSBURGH — Water damage recently prompted Carnegie Mellon University to replace several sections of asbestos-containing wall plaster inside Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall, according to The Tartan.
According to Carnegie Mellon Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), all of the hard plaster in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall is considered to be contaminated with asbestos.
To minimize any potential health risks, repairs or renovations to the asbestos-containing wall plaster must be completed by a contractor licensed by the Allegheny County Health Department, the story stated.
Mark Banister, assistant director of EHS, said: "[Facilities Management Services] knew of the presence of asbestos in the building and incorporated the need for asbestos abatement work from the very beginning of its planning of [the water damage repair] project. The abatement work is being performed under a permit from [the] Allegheny County Health Department, who oversees all asbestos abatement work in the county. Our contractor is licensed by them. We maintain an inventory of all asbestos locations on campus and monitor them routinely for damage or deterioration. Whenever such conditions occur, we take prompt action to repair or remove the material in question."
The presence of asbestos concerns some students, but EHS has reassured everyone that barriers are in place to contain any and all asbestos fibers to the immediate work area and filtered vacuums are being used as an added precaution, the story noted.
Air quality tests are also being performed regularly to ensure that the barriers and the filtered vacuums are performing as anticipated to minimize exposure to students and staff, the story added.
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