EPA Conducting Asbestos Sampling at Superfund Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that they recently completed activity-based asbestos sampling work at the South Bay Asbestos Superfund Site in Alviso, California, in the San Francisco Bay area.

“We are sampling in order to determine if there is any potential for significant exposure to asbestos from normal dust-generating activities, such as driving a vehicle or bicycling said Eric Yunker, the EPA project manager for the site.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that “the testing is rekindling memories of 24 years ago, when asbestos was first found in levees, parking lots and former dump sites in the small, largely Latino community on the city’s northern edges. The discovery eventually led the EPA to declare all of Alviso a federal Superfund site in 1986.

Though the EPA reports that most of the clean-up was completed by 1993, the tests conducted last week were done with modern equipment that is more sensitive and can measure asbestos levels more accurately. The EPA also notes that if persistent levels of asbestos are found in the air, the tests could “trigger years of new cleanup efforts.

Instead of taking soil samples as in the past or sampling air from stationary monitors, explains the newspaper account, EPA crews rode ATVs, raked dirt, ran on sports fields behind George Mayne Elementary School, and rode bicycles, all while wearing sensitive measuring devices.

“We’ll be basically kicking up dust that’s found in town, ”Yunker said last week. “We aren’t introducing or concentrating materials that aren’t already here. We won’t be doing anything that increases health risk.” “We’re here to confirm that the clean-up activities we did are still protective of public health,” Yunker stressed.

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