SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — A remediation plan for asbestos found in the Baird community center during its renovations was approved last night at the Board of Trustees meeting. 

Although the project is some 80 percent finished with its demolition, layers of asbestos have been found under the flooring and construction cannot continue without its removal, said Arne Aakre, representative for Shapiro and Associates, the construction management company, speaking to the board.

 We can't proceed with opening the floors where we found asbestos,” Aakre said. “We took down the walls and we've opened up some other places where we could see multiple layers of asbestos containing materials in the floor.”

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In addition to flooring itself, “everything was glued down with mastic or glues that also contained asbestos. So what we're proposing is to take all of that out, down to the deck, right above the structure of each floor.”

Asbestos was also found on the pipes that led to radiators which are due to be removed. “And that's probably the most dangerous to deal with.” He noted that “we [also] found asbestos…in a piping tunnel that goes from lowest level into the basement and houses both steam lines and drain lines. And we're going to run a new larger drain lines for all your bathrooms through that tunnel,” so the asbestos needs to be cleared from there as well.

The abatement work, noted Aakre, “will be done safely.” The building will be completely wrapped and fans will ensure asbestos dust does not escape. “This is not something that we take lightly. And the company that is retained to do this work has done it before and done it safely… They will be monitored by the State Department of Environmental Protection, who will send inspectors around and make sure that these procedures are followed. And we will enforce that as well. And they have been notified already with anticipation to keep the project on schedule.”

The change order to pay for the remediation was approved by the Board unanimously. Village President Sheena Collum said that unexpected expenses are built into the costs and this will not cause the project to go over budget. 

“I think it's important that the public know that it really is safe to be outside the building,” during the abatement, said Hilton, “so the fields and the tennis courts and all that are still going to be used as normal.”



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