SOURCE: The Trenton Times
Asbestos Hazard Testing to Begin: Soil Sampling
Targets Zonolite Vicinity
March 23, 2006
Testing of the soil at a random sampling of homes
around the former W.R. Grace and Co. Zonolite plant
here, along with about 18 public parks within about two
miles of the Industrial Drive site, will take place
between April 3 and April 14, a federal Environmental
Protection Agency official said last night.
The results of those tests -- which will examine the
soil for possible asbestos contamination from the plant
-- should be available by May 15, said Kimberly Staiger,
an on-scene coordinator with the EPA's Edison office.
Staiger was among more than 12 federal, state and local
officials present yesterday evening for an informal
meeting at Klockner Elementary School, during which
residents could ask officials questions about the
upcoming tests in a one-on-one setting. A few dozen
residents attended and spoke with the officials.
Staiger said about 800 residents in Hamilton and
Lawrence who live near the former plant were notified by
mail of the meeting.
About 24 houses within a half-mile of the plant, which
was destroyed in a fire last April, will be tested. The
houses in Hamilton and Lawrence were randomly chosen by
the EPA from among a group built before 1991, have had
no new earthwork done in the yard since then and are
downwind of the plant.
She said the owners of some homes randomly selected
refused permission to allow testing. Others, whose
houses were not selected, offered to let the EPA test
their soil. She said those residents' names and
addresses were taken and some of their properties may be
tested to replace those that declined to take part.
The owners of homes sampled will be notified by phone as
soon as test results are available. Other neighborhood
residents will be informed by mail, and media outlets in
the area also will be informed, she said.
Officials of the EPA and the state Department of
Environmental Protection last year conducted air
modeling on the plant in an effort to determine where
asbestos from the W.R. Grace plant's smokestacks might
That report, which has not been released to the public,
indicated asbestos likely was blown to portions of the
Whitehead Manor section of the township as well as the
Hutchinson Mills neighborhood. Both are within a
half-mile of the plant site.
For more than 40 years the plant processed Vermiculite
ore for use in fireproofing, insulation and garden
products. The ore was shipped to the Hamilton plant and
dozens of others around the country from a mine in
Libby, Mont. That mine was closed in 1990.
The mine later was found to contain tremolite asbestos,
a potent form of the mineral known to cause lung
disease, including asbestosis and mesothelioma, a fatal
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