Davidson Asbestos Site Information - Davidson, N.C.

The former Carolina Asbestos Company site, located at 301 Depot Street, has been remediated for asbestos-containing material. It is currently under proposal for redevelopment. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Department of Health and Human Services have been coordinating with other state and local government agencies to manage risks at four different ongoing public works projects in the area surrounding the 301 Depot Street property. The department's Division of Waste Management hosted a public information meeting on January 13, 2020, presented a plan to manage the asbestos issue and promote awareness in the community, proposing an “Asbestos Watch Area” to monitor and manage soil disturbances in the neighborhood. In response to community concerns at the January 2020 meeting, DEQ and EPA have expanded the asbestos-soil sampling area in the neighborhood surrounding the former Carolina Asbestos Company site. 

Background

From the 1930s until the 1960s, the Carolina Asbestos Company operated at 301 Depot Street in Davidson, North Carolina. Asbestos-containing waste material remained uncovered at the property until 1984. It was reported that asbestos-containing material had been removed from the manufacturing location and used as fill at neighboring properties.

In 1984, under the supervision of the North Carolina Division of Health Services’ Health Hazards Control Unit in the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, the then-owner placed an engineered soil cap over the disposal area. 

In September of 2016, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Brownfields Program held a public information session about plans for a multi-story mixed use redevelopment of the property. At the time, neighbors voiced concerns about potential asbestos exposure during construction. In October of that same year, a flood caused a breach of the existing soil cover and released asbestos fibers into the street bordering the property, further raising awareness and concern in the community.

Sampling History

Sampling History

At DEQ Division of Waste Management’s (DWM) request in 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Emergency Response and Removal Branch oversaw the emergency repair of the breach in the soil cap. Because of reports that in past decades, asbestos-containing material had been removed from the manufacturing location and used as fill at neighboring properties, the EPA inspected properties identified as having asbestos-containing material. Between November 1, 2016 through May 16, 2017, the EPA’s Emergency Response, Removal, Prevention and Preparedness Branch conducted soil sampling at 93 neighboring properties.

Thirty-two residential properties tested above the EPA’s health-based exposure limit. The EPA removed the top one-to-two feet of asbestos-contaminated soil, marked the end of excavation and installed clean fill and sod at those 32 properties. From May 15 through August 22, 2017, the EPA removed approximately 6,204 tons of asbestos-contaminated waste and disposed of it at an EPA-approved landfill. On January 25, 2018, the EPA sent letters to property owners stating the removal work was complete and that “No Further Action” was planned for their properties.

At the same time, DWM staff oversaw the installation of an improved soil cap over the disposal area by the owners of the 301 Depot Street property. This improved cap is a temporary measure until the site is redeveloped through the Brownfields Program to provide for a permanently maintained hard cover.

Brownfields Status

Brownfields Status

When the first Brownfields applicant decided not to redevelop the site, a second applicant came into the program and proposed a more modest repurposing of existing structures on the property. This new plan does not require excavation of the disposal area. It requires a retaining wall, more clean soil and gravel fill, and a paved cap over the disposal area that will be used as parking. The Brownfields Program staff and the developer presented these plans at a public information session on December 9, 2019.

Managing Risks

Managing Risks

The Division of Waste Management and DHHS’ Health Hazards Control Unit have been coordinating with other state and local government agencies to manage risks at four different ongoing public works projects in the area surrounding the 301 Depot Street property. These projects are: 

Asbestos Watch Area

Asbestos Watch Area

The department’s Division of Waste Management hosted a public information meeting on January 13, 2020, presented a plan to manage the asbestos issue and promote awareness in the community, proposing an “Asbestos Watch Area” to monitor and manage soil disturbances in the neighborhood. The ‘asbestos watch area’ would define an area where residents would be advised to consult with state or local officials before digging or demolition.

The plan is designed to provide a network of professionals who can help residents identify and manage any risks of asbestos that might be buried on their property. Town planners would flag any projects in the zone for special attention. The watch area designation would appear in county land records, so any future buyers would be warned ahead of time of possible asbestos. It’s a form of notice that would not attach warnings and land use restrictions to individual deeds; both of which would require signed consent by each property owner.

January 2020 presentation

During that meeting, residents asked for more sampling over a larger area and sampling of properties that were not tested in 2017.

Expanded Sampling

Expanded Sampling

In response to community concerns at the January 2020 meeting, DEQ and EPA have expanded the asbestos-soil sampling area in the neighborhood surrounding the former Carolina Asbestos Company. The free soil sampling is for properties not sampled by EPA in 2017 that are located within the expanded sampling area. The area is shown in orange on the map.

The samples will be taken outside, and homeowners do not have to be present for sampling to occur. Homeowners will receive results once the laboratory analysis is complete. If needed, the DEQ and EPA will work with property owners to do further tests and, if necessary, remove asbestos-containing material from those properties that test above the EPA’s health-based exposure limit. The expanded sampling area may be modified in the future based on data collected over the coming months.

Resources

Resources