August 28, 2012 Kittredge House Asbestos Abatement
|Image of raw asbestos, courtesy of Envirotest Labs
For all the romance of historic building preservation, one always has to face the reality that, in old buildings, there?s always the potential for finding hazardous materials which will need to be removed by a qualified contractor. We recently hired Envirotest Laboratories, Inc. to test suspect materials at the Alvah Kittredge House for asbestos and to assist us through the abatement process. For those unfamiliar with this process, here is a primer.
|The drums of abated material removed from the Kittredge House
Testing at the Kittredge House confirmed some asbestos in the basement from insulation and heating equipment, some floor tiles on the first floor, flooring mastic, and most significantly, in a skim coat ceiling finish on the second floor. Because this ceiling is damaged and no longer intact, we were required to abate all of the plaster walls on the second floor because asbestos fibers from the ceiling may have become lodged in the surrounding, damaged plaster walls. Fortunately, the asbestos material did not migrate to other floors, which was confirmed by vacuum wipe sample testing performed on the stairs and first floor.
|Image of equipment utilized during abatement
Just to be sure the work was done according to the regulations, Envirotest was on site at all times to monitor and inspect the operations. The air in the clean chamber of the decontamination facility was collected by a high volume pump into a filter that was then examined for asbestos fibers under a microscope on site. Ambient air outside was similarly tested to ensure asbestos dust was not escaping from the building. Every effort was made to ensure every fiber of asbestos was safely removed from the house, and the crew washed down the abated area as a last step.