An article came out today in BuffaloNews.com about a story that could happen anywhere in this country.
Asbestos warning signs were posted recently at Marine Drive Apartments. No explanation was provided, which naturally caused a number of residents to wonder about their health and safety.
Housing Authority officials said a state mandate from the Office of Public Employee Safety and Health dictated when and where the signs were to be placed. The mandate did not allow time to inform residents before they went up.
Plans to hold a public informational meeting are in the works, they said.
“We’re not trying to inflame residents,” said Dawn E. Sanders, executive director of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, which owns and manages the Marine Drive complex. “We didn’t have time before signs were put up to have a meeting with residents. The PESH report said we had to put up signs immediately, and that was the soonest we could have put them up. We didn’t randomly pick where to put them.”
The notices read, “Danger. Asbestos Cancer and Lung Disease Hazard. Authorized Personnel Only.” They were posted late last Friday afternoon at the elevators and the front and back doors of each of the seven buildings of the waterfront complex.
Problems began in August, when seven workers at Marine Drive removed asbestos around eight water valves to address a leaking problem. A state agency investigation determined that the employees had not followed proper rules for dealing with asbestos, and the Housing Authority was handed 17 citations. One of the required corrections involved posting asbestos-warning signs in specific areas.
The warnings also noted that confirmed or presumed asbestos- containing materials are present throughout the building, including floor tile, linoleum, plaster ceilings, heating pipes and all interior and exterior caulking.
The information had some residents worried about whether the affected areas included their individual units.
Only common areas, the boiler room and the maintenance room are affected, said Assistant Executive Director Modesto Candelario.
The good news is that most of the affected areas have already had abatement work done. Morever, residents will not have to be relocated, he added, because the abatement “won’t be done in their apartments.”