Housing officials at North Carolina State University in Raleigh closed a residence hall earlier this week when contractors discovered and disturbed asbestos inside the building.
According to an article in the college’s newspaper, The Technician, asbestos was discovered on the south side of Bragaw Residence Hall, prompting the hiring of a licensed abatement company to remove the hazardous material.
“It’s standard with our renovations, especially with buildings built before the early 1970s,” housing facilities associate director Barry Olson said of the asbestos cleanup. “There is typically some level of asbestos containing materials that is safe to human beings unless disturbed. In the case of renovation, materials are disturbed.”
Olson said the university is committed to keeping students and staff as safe as possible, so they hired a local company to remove the material and conduct follow-up testing to be sure all the air is free of airborne asbestos fibers.
“We’re going through and not only removing it but…following all of the requirements through the EPA for safe removal and disposal,” Olson said of the collaboration between NCSU and Matrix.
The particular work being done this summer, according to Olson, involves removing floor and ceiling tiles and pipe insulation.
“In this particular case we are removing mastic, or glue, underneath all of the floor tiles, the mastic holding the ceiling tiles in place and some pipe wrap,” he said, noting that the glue contains asbestos as does the insulation around the pipes.
“They wet it down, remove it, double bag it and then dispose of it according to [Environmental Protection Agency] regulations,” Olson explained to students.
“Asbestos was a very common building material for a number of years and if left undisturbed, it’s safe,” he said. “It’s when you disturb it, then it becomes problematic. We’re removing it and making the environment completely safe.”