Contractor May Lose Libby Contract

An asbestos cleanup and remediation firm that has a contract to handle part of the asbestos cleanup in Libby , Montana , may be losing its contract according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. ASW Associates obtained the Libby cleanup contract through the Volpe Center , a contracting responsible for the hiring on the Libby project. The EPA stated last week that they were unhappy with ASW Associates for its slow performance and failure to meet safety and health requirements. One safety problem recently led to a site shutdown for several days. ASW has been issued a “cure” notice, giving them 10 days to show how they will fix the problems with their part of the cleanup operation. In the meantime, a $1 million task order which had been assigned to ASW has been transferred to a cleanup firm named ER, which was the next lowest bidder. ER has a 90% satisfactory work rating according to EPA on-site coordinator Paul Peronard.

The EPA is also applying measures in order to reduce the level of dust at and around the former W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine site near Libby. The mine is the source of the asbestos contamination which has plagued Libby, causing a number of deaths and many illnesses. Contractors working for the EPA moved 50,000 cubic yards of asbestos-contaminated dirt to the mine site for disposal in 2007, and are expected to deliver a similar amount of material this year. Dry weather and high temperatures have combined to create a serious dust problem in the area as a result of all the earth moving. EPA spokesman Mike Cirian says that the EPA has already deployed two water trucks to treat the road leading up to the mine to keep the dust levels down, and will in addition apply a dust-suppression sealant, Surfactant, to further curtail the level of dust in the air.