Residents Rail Over EPA Earth Movers

An abandoned asbestos dump in Ambler Borough, Pennsylvania became a renewed center of controversy when the EPA began working at the site. Up until the 1960s, the site in this tiny Pennsylvania community was used as a dumping ground for industrial asbestos waste. The waste has remained untouched, covered lightly with vegetation. Without the knowledge of the citizens of Ambler Borough, the Environmental Protection Agency began to operate earth movers at this former asbestos dump. They cleared the patch of land to allow an access road to a nearby creek to be built. Residents raised concerns, saying that this movement of the soil could have broken some of the asbestos waste which remains buried at the site. A disturbance of the asbestos pieces could release fibers into the air; asbestos fibers are known to cause a number of deadly lung ailments in humans who are exposed. Residents of the area believe that they were not properly informed of the actions of the EPA which could have put them at risk for exposure to deadly asbestos fibers. The EPA argues that notices were sent via email to the co-chairs of the BoRit Citizens Advisory Group, a community group that deals with the asbestos site among other concerns.

According to the EPA, it was the responsibility of the group to disseminate the information to residents. Citizens also voiced concerns over the health of the site workers who were originally seen without respirators. After being informed of the unprotected condition of the workers, the EPA then required them to wear the proper safety gear, including respirators to filter out asbestos fibers which could be airborne at the site. The EPA and the advisory group have scheduled meetings to discuss the future of the site. The problem of the contaminated site is ongoing in Ambler Borough and was the main reason that the land remains undeveloped. Even though the owner of the land owes thousands in back taxes, it was pulled from being offered in a tax sale. Until the asbestos waste can be safely disposed of, the site in Ambler Borough will likely remain an empty lot.