NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – In a letter sent to borough officials residents David and Robin Wood expressed their concerns of potentially hazardous material landing in residential neighborhoods because of demolition at the Lantern Hill site. The Woods also appeared at the Thursday, Oct. 26 Zoom meeting.

The problem is that the borough does not require a copy of the initial inspection survey showing what hazardous materials the structure is comprised of. This would ensure that the presence of asbestos and other toxic substances are accounted for before abatement occurs, the Woods said. “This survey is critical for knowing what toxic substances may be present and how they will be safely removed before demolition,” they added. They considered the borough’s attitude to their concerns as being too lax. “When we see plaster dust rising in clouds over the dumpster, and have not seen any documented evidence that asbestos is not present in the dust, we are concerned,” they said in their letter. Robin Wood also pointed out that they are concerned with future large-scale demolition operations in town if residents don’t have access to reports showing what toxic materials can be found on the site.

Construction Official Keith Lynch noted that the initial reporting took place a long time before the construction efforts were mobilized. “We knew exactly what was in the building before any work started there,” he said. The contractor had a laboratory that surveyed and tested all products in the building and it was predetermined that asbestos was limited to an adhesive material. They knew that the drywall and insulation did not contain any asbestos in that building, he said.

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Lynch expressed full confidence in the contractors as they are licensed through the state. He noted that as of last Friday he has come into possession of the clearance letter that was submitted to the state stating that the remediation work on the site has been completed.

The Woods said that they are pleased to know that no asbestos was found in the drywall, but that it would be better in the future if residents adjacent to the site have access to those reports prior to the start of any demolition work.

Mayor Al Morgan asked Lynch to provide the Woods with the final report.