DEQ and EPA to sample more residential properties in Davidson for asbestos


RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Waste Management (DEQ), along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will offer free asbestos soil sampling to property owners in the residential area within one-quarter mile of the former Carolina Asbestos Corporation site in Davidson.

Residents who receive letters are encouraged to complete the sampling authorization form, so that soil samples can be collected and analyzed. Following the expanded sampling, DEQ and EPA staff will work with property owners to conduct any further tests. If necessary, asbestos-containing material will be removed from properties that test above the EPA’s health-based exposure limit. Both agencies expect that the project will occur in multiple phases over the coming months.

In response to community concerns expressed in January of 2020, the sampling will cover properties that were not tested in 2017 and may cover a larger area than the initial sampling and cleanup efforts between 2016 and 2017. Both agencies tested residential properties in 2017 for asbestos and removed asbestos-containing material from some of those properties.

A public meeting originally scheduled to explain and answer questions about the upcoming sampling activities has been postponed to follow the current public health guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

From the 1930s until the 1960s, Carolina Asbestos Company operated at 301 Depot Street. It was reported that asbestos-containing material was removed from the manufacturing location and used as fill at nearby neighboring properties. Following inspections by the EPA, soil samples were taken between November 1, 2016, and May 16, 2017. At properties that met federal site-specific criteria and 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.

Asbestos is the name given to a naturally occurring group of minerals composed of tiny fibers that can be inhaled into the lungs, where they tend to stay because of their shape. Inhaled asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and other lung diseases that may not appear until many years after exposure.

Long-term, continued management of the asbestos issues will be needed. State, local and federal agencies will work with the community to monitor activities and provide information.

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