Yesterday, the Grant County Landfill located in Silver City, New Mexico received its first shipment of asbestos-containing materials resulting from the Quail Ridge Fire that burned through the Silver Acres neighborhood. The landfill was closed to the public as each shipment will be dumped and buried in an effort to protect the public from any possible asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in numerous construction materials prior to the public awareness about its potentially hazardous health effects like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos was so commonly used because of its unique resistance to heat, friction, electrical, and chemical damage. Because of the dangers of potential asbestos exposure, there are special precautions that need to be taken regarding its disposal.
The Quail Ridge Fire happened on March 7 and ultimately destroyed 13 homes and a number of other buildings. Although the Grant County Landfill does not normally dispose of asbestos materials, New Mexico’s Environment Secretary Dave Martin deemed the situation a conditional emergency and signed an order allowing the location to handle up to 1,000 tons of asbestos before May 9. Additionally, the order allowed the state to fast-track the hiring of Keers Remidiation, a commercial cleanup company specializing in asbestos.
Remaining homeowners, who have not had their debris tested for asbestos, are urged to contact the Southwest Solid Waste Authority to ensure that, should asbestos be present, a potential cleanup plan can be organized before the May 9 deadline.
Have you or a loved one been potentially exposed to asbestos? An asbestos attorney may be able to help you with your situation.