Byproduct of Bogalusa Blight Fight: Asbestos

November 11, 2013

Vacant, overgrown lots all around Bogalusa, La., have been roped off with red tape that reads “Danger Asbestos Hazard.”

Bogalusa Director of Public Works James Hall says neighboring property owners don’t need to be alarmed. However, they should not stir up any debris within the taped-off areas.

The Bogalusa Daily News reports that the red tape is the latest development in the city’s year-old effort to demolish and remove blighted houses. The cleanup work was stopped by the Department of Environmental Quality after it found asbestos at some sites. The material must be removed according to strict regulations because exposure has been found to increase the risk of lung disease.

Hall says the city is trying to find funding for the costly process of asbestos removal.

“The tape is the result of a meeting Tuesday with the DEQ,” Hall said. “Until we get the funds to clean the lots, they requested we put the tape up. They said they saw children playing on one.”

In general, exposure to asbestos occurs when an asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged in a way that releases particles and fibers into the air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“The DEQ said they detected asbestos on 140 lots,” Hall said. “We bid out the first 26, and just that many will take approximately $110,000. We’ve also got a bunch of houses, but we’ll do the lots first.”

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