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Covered Pile Of Asbestos Remains In Town Of Barrington

Illustration of potential asbestos exposure in a building

A pile of debris containing asbestos and lead paint remains covered in the town of Barrington in New Hampshire with no further plans of action in the near future to remove it. It was covered by the Department of Public Works to prevent run-off, but town officials postponed the disposal.

The pile is located on the site of the former town hall adjacent to a playground, within walking distance of the library and a school for pre-K and kindergarten called Early Childhood Learning Center.

The asbestos was found in the building’s foundation. Now town selectmen are negotiating with S&R Corporation of Lowell, Mass. (the contracted demolition company) and Spears Bros. Building Wrecking of Laconia (another company interested in completing the demolition).

S&R is requesting an extra $144,000 because the original contract was for $77,000 and did not cover asbestos removal. An additional $34,000 is being asked for to compensate for the separation of asbestos from the other debris at the site, which has resulted in construction delays.

Spears Bros. is requiring a minimum of $140,00 to pick up where S&R left off and finish the removal. A hygienist will have to be present for the process to ensure everything is done according to New Hampshire state law.

Asbestos must be handled with care due to its toxic properties and classification as a known carcinogen. In good condition, there’s usually no hazard. But when worn or damaged it poses a great risk to the health and safety of humans as the fibers may flake off and become airborne.

Anyone in the vicinity of the debris pile could inhale these fibers, which can become embedded in the chest. Years later, these victims of asbestos exposure could develop serious asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.

According to Barrington’s Town Administrator John Scruton, “It will take 39 truck runs to remove the 850 tons of debris containing asbestos and lead paint, which is currently sitting unattended.”

The trucks need to be lined, misted down and wrapped. Then the debris is transported to be dumped at a special Waste Management facility.

“Nobody in their right mind would let that [the original agreement with S&R] proceed,” said resident Andy Knapp of Lenzi Point Road. Knapp had two pages of questions after reviewing the proposed agreements with S&R and Spears.

Town selectmen planned to not touch the debris until the end of winter, but residents were in disagreement because the prices will be much more expensive at that time.

Selectman Fred Bussiere stated the board will collect more data before a final decision. “My feeling is if the site is stable, I would like to get another quote, and do more due diligence.”