Removal Action Commences at Asbestos Site
Sep 15, 2016
Akwesasne, NY — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is providing notification to local residents that clean-up efforts have begun of asbestos material that was unearthed during the summer of 2015. The material is located on a property identified as Parcel ID #360 in the southern portion of Akwesasne, which is adjacent to Lot #7 in the community’s northern district of Kana:takon (St. Regis).
The Tribe thanks the property owner for notifying Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Public Safety and Environment Portfolio Holder Kana:takon District Chief Steve Thomas about the suspicious material, who in turn instructed their Emergency Response Team to investigate the matter. Appreciation is extended to MCA’s Environmental Health Officer, Emergency Measures Officer, Health Services, Environment Program and Community Health for their cooperation and efforts to ensure the site posed minimal risk to neighboring residents.
Due to the material’s location, a Joint Emergency Response Team was assembled in September 2015 to contain, monitor, investigate and provide a cleanup plan that included the safe removal of the asbestos material. The Team was comprised of environmental, emergency planning/measures and health technicians from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. Their combined efforts were spearheaded by the Tribe’s Environment Division however, due to the nature of the materials assistance was requested to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
As a result, on October 14-15, 2015 EPA technicians conducted a site visit and took soil and bulk samples for laboratory analysis. Twenty-three soil and twenty-three bulk samples were taken from various locations at the site and marked with GPS and flags. Ten samples were also taken from an adjoining property and five soil samples were collected from a property that received similar land fill during the same time period.
The EPA submitted their analysis of the bulk materials to the Tribe’s Environment Division, along with recommended measures to properly cleanup the site. Those measures began this week and entail the safe removal of approximately one foot of top soil, the existing soil pile and any asbestos containing materials that may be unearthed. The materials will be placed in a truck and sealed in plastic liners before being transported off-site to a permitted-hazardous waste landfill in Seneca Falls, New York. A geotextile fabric will then be placed at the site to further control materials before one foot of certified-clean fill is placed on top and seeded.
It is expected that the removal action will take approximately six to eight weeks, with the first few days dedicated to constructing an appropriate roadway for heavy equipment. During this time, local residents will notice truck traffic entering and exiting 440 St. Regis Road. As a precaution, the roadway to the site, as well as trucks and other vehicles accessing the site, will be moistened and rinsed with water to prevent dust. Air monitoring will also be conducted by the Tribe’s Environment Division and the EPA.
The Tribe encourages individuals to keep these cleanup activities in mind and appreciates your cooperation as we safeguard our environment for the benefit of our people.
PHOTO CAPTION: A Joint Emergency Response Team responded to the discovery of asbestos materials on a property adjacent to Kana:takon. Access to the site was controlled and debris was contained with plastic sheeting until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began removal action earlier this week.
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People.