Bittersweet Ending to Asbestos Cleanup in Libby, Montana

The asbestos cleanup of Libby, Montana, is coming to a celebrated close. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon end the largest, longest-running asbestos cleanup project in American history. It’s a bittersweet ending to what is left behind. The 19-year, $600 million EPA Superfund project aimed to right the wrongs created by the shuttered W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine. Once the lifeblood of the community, it also became a cold-hearted killer. Although the mine was closed almost 30 years ago, health officials have since documented more than 400 deaths linked to asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. Superfund Site a Massive Undertaking As part of the project, an estimated 8,100 properties throughout surrounding Lincoln County were inspected. More than 2,600 cleanups were required and completed. A million cubic yards of contaminated dirt and building materials were removed and replaced. Yards, homes, public parks and businesses have been fixed. The self-proclaimed City of Eagles now looks picturesque and inviting to the outside world. The EPA recently hailed the work and collaboration with city, county and state agencies that helped turn the cleanup into a redevelopment effort that included site reuse and environmental sustainability. It includes the once-contaminated Riverfront Park, used for community celebrations, weddings, concerts and the annual Riverfront Blues Festival that attracts people from across the na...
Source: Asbestos and Mesothelioma News - Category: Environmental Health Authors: Source Type: news

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