Former Air Force Base to Have Asbestos Pipes Removed

The former Chanute Air Force Base near Rantoul, Illinois, will have over 6,000 feet of piping laden with asbestos removed. The ownership of the pipes was contested since neither the village of Rantoul, which leased the land to the Chanute Air Force Base, nor the Air Force would take responsibility. Both claimed that the other party should be charged with the pipes’ removal. The Air Force has taken the initiative to begin the removal of the pipes citing health and environmental concerns for exposure if the pipes remain. Running from the old steam plant to three other buildings on the Air Force Base, the pipes have not been used since prior to 1993, when Chanute Air Force Base was closed by the Pentagon. Exposure to asbestos can lead to many forms of mesothelioma a cancer of tissues lining the lungs and other regions of the body).

The forms of cancer caused by asbestos often do not develop until decades after exposure. Once someone exposed to asbestos is diagnosed with a cancer from it, in some cases it can lead to death. There are currently no effective cures for mesothelioma or lung cancer , and the drugs given to patients diagnosed with these diseases may only prolong the victim’s life by a few months. The removal of the piping begins with the testing of the soil surrounding the pipes. If it is found to be contaminated by asbestos, the tainted soil will be removed and replaced with clean soil. The pipes will be removed before the soil is tested to prevent contamination during the soil testing and removal process. Work is set to begin on the process in December 2008 by a Cincinnati-based contractor, Quality Management, which has been awarded the $150,000 contract to remove and dispose of the pipes.

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