Ruptured Pipe in Boston Releases Asbestos

A steam pipe that burst yesterday in front of Boston’s Edward W. Brooke Courthouse released small amounts of asbestos, reports an article in the Boston Globe.

The fire department of Boston has verified that in addition to large chunks of asphalt, asbestos pieces spewed forth onto the street when the pipe exploded. This was the second such explosion in less than one month in downtown Boston.

“When it ruptured, it blew the steam up through the road,” said Steve MacDonald, spokesman for the department, adding that asbestos was found in the dust and ashpalt that scattered over a 50-foot diameter area and landed on two cars. He said a hazmat team had been called in last night to begin a slow and deliberate cleanup.

Though the steam release occurred in the middle of the afternoon on a warm and busy Sunday, no injuries were reported. A portion of New Chardon Street, however, was closed so that testing and clean-up could be completed and a three-story apartment building was evacuated for safety purposes.

Nancy Sterling, a spokesperson for Trigen-Boston Energy Corp., the company that oversees the 22 miles of pipes beneath the city streets, told the media that asbestos was not released into the air. However, it was found in dust on cars and other objects in the immediate area. The asbestos, Sterling said, came from the material that insulates the pipes.

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