Asbestos Fears Loom in Face of Hotel Implosion

Neighbors of the old Sands Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ are trying to block the impending implosion of the three-decade-old hotel, noting that the resulting dust and debris will most likely contain dangerous asbestos particles.

According to an Associated Press article, Vincent Barth – the owner of the Park Lane Apartment Hotel, located across the street from The Sands – went to court on Wednesday to try to block the implosion, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday morning, October 18. No action was taken at the time but a hearing was scheduled for the morning of the implosion.

“We know for a fact that the Sands building contained asbestos, the worst kind of asbestos,” said Barth’s lawyer, Clifford Van Syoc. “We know it contained lead, PCBs and other toxic chemicals.

“We’ve been asking over and over for the last 30 days for proof that they’ve taken it out, but for some reason, they won’t give it to us.”

According to the article, The Sands is being demolished to make way for a $1.5 billion to $2 billion new mega-casino to be built by Pinnacle Entertainment. The facility, which does not have a name at this time, is scheduled to open in late 2011 or early 2012.

Kim Townsend, president of Pinnacle Atlantic City, reassured the city that all toxic materials have been removed from The Sands, which was one of Atlantic City’s earliest casinos.

“I think what people need to understand is that companies cannot get permits for demolition without the environmental work being tested, remediated and retested,” she told the media. “You can’t get one without the other.”

Townsend acknowledges that dust will be a problem immediately after the implosion, but doesn’t see it as a big deal.

“Dust is an unpreventable byproduct of all types of demolition,” the company wrote on its Web site. “We do expect heavy dust in the block immediately surrounding the demolition site. Dust may also prevail outside and downwind of the area, depending on weather conditions.”

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