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Collapsed garage raises asbestos disposal questions

Staff writer

A rickety garage being transported on a trailer collapsed at the corner of Nickerson and Lincoln Sts., blocking the streets for several hours Thursday.

“We were going to put it up at another place,” BG Builders contractor Bryan Grosse said. “I wasn’t planning on taking it to the dump.”

He said extra braces failed to support what he called a “half-rotten building,” as crews turned north onto Lincoln St.

“The thing just shifted and went down,” Grosse said. “I was in a panic to get the stuff cleaned up as fast as I could. I didn’t want it blocking the road.”

Sorting asbestos siding from other wreckage was an added aggravation to an otherwise frustrating situation.

Special disposal regulations for materials like asbestos siding made the emergency cleanup take longer.

“You gotta wrap the stuff in plastic,” he said. “It’s the dust that’ll get ya.”

Transfer station director Bud Druse said asbestos siding is considered “special waste” because of negative effects asbestos particles have on health.

“People have to contact Kansas Department of Health and Environment ahead of time to get a permit to bring special waste to us,” Druse said. “The permit doesn’t cost anything. They just need to know what you have and how much.”

However, Grosse did not have time to obtain a permit. His crew sorted the asbestos siding from other rubble and dropped it off at his shop on Cedar St. The rest of the mess was taken to the transfer station.

“Many people don’t know what asbestos siding looks like,” Druse said. “If you’re working on an old house with old siding and you break open the siding and see fibers on the broken edge it’s probably asbestos siding.”

Druse said transfer station workers perform a “visual screening” for special waste when construction and demolition waste comes in.

“The guys know what can and can’t go,” he said.

The transfer station is the only entity authorized to transport special waste to the Butler County landfill, where crews bury it in a special pit separate from other refuse, Druse said.

He said there are two associated charges for special waste disposal — $100 for transport and $100 per ton.

Grosse said he has worked on myriad old structures in the area, many of which may have had asbestos siding.

“Sometimes houses have new siding layered on top of the asbestos siding, so it’s hard to see,” Grosse said. “I’m sure some asbestos gets in with other waste. It’s hard to sort, labor intensive, and costs time and money.”

Other special waste materials like lead paint and asbestos insulation are hard for workers to detect, Druse said.

Once a construction and demolition mass exceeds 300 pounds, it costs $40 a ton to drop at the transfer station, he said.

The transfer station does not accept cement.

Grosse said the City of Marion lets contractors bury cement at construction sites. He sometimes seeks rural residents who use cement for washouts when a dig is not part of a job.

“The county needs a C&D pit,” Grosse said. “There are a lot of old structures around here. It is expensive to drop off. I mean, who wants to pay $40 a ton? You better have some deep pockets.”

Last modified Feb. 17, 2016

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