Ruptured Boston Steampipe Spews Asbestos

On September 12th, an exploding steampipe under a busy Boston street sent thick plumes of steam and other debris into the air, causing concerns about contamination from materials such as asbestos.

According to an account in the Boston Globe, several workers were decontaminated and streets in the area were closed because of concerns that toxic asbestos had been released. City officials report that many of the city’s old steampipes are insulated with asbestos and the potential that debris was released with the steam was great.

The steam came from a 14-inch pipe owned by Trigen Boston Energy Corp., said Larry Plitch, general counsel for the Trigen companies. Plitch told the Globe that “tests have indicated that there was asbestos in a brown material that spewed, along with the steam, out of the manhole at Otis and Summer Streets.”

He added that the air quality was still being tested and that no results were available. Plitch said it wasn’t clear how the steam was released, but he promised that the company would get to the bottom of the incident.?

We’re going to do a full-blown investigation, obviously, and make all of our findings available to the authorities, he said.
A local fireman said four people had to be decontaminated but no serious injuries were reported after the incident. Tests will be ongoing to determine whether or not it’s safe for business owners and/or residents to return to the area.

A similar rupture occurred in New York City in July, prompting the closing of the affected area for several days due to the release of asbestos.

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