Asbestos test forthcoming for Bertrand Twp. hall

Published 10:08 am Monday, June 22, 2015

The Bertrand Township Board of Trustees has hired an environmental expert to test the town hall and community building for any signs of asbestos contamination.

Supervisor Steve Hicks said the board voted June 11 to hire Wightman Environmental to do the test in the near future.

The test will include an eight-hour air sampling, including other testing methods, in both buildings.

“We want them to check it out and see what their recommendation is,” Hicks said.

Earlier this spring, Wightman Environmental did an initial inspection of the township hall for possible asbestos contamination. Hicks said while the inspection found asbestos in the building, it did not find any loose asbestos.

The township hall and community building, Hicks explained, were built at a time when asbestos was used in insulation for piping. Both buildings contain that type of insulation, which, he said, is not harmful if left undisturbed.

“There is no risk if it is left alone,” he said.

Based on the initial inspection, Hicks said Wightman recommended containment as opposed to abatement of the asbestos.

Township Trustee Stephen LeClaire said he does not agree with the initial finding that there is no loose asbestos in public buildings. He said he found a piece of what he thought might be asbestos on the floor in a storage closet in the township hall and that he had it tested by ACM Environmental.

LeClaire said the piece — which he placed in a baggy and removed from the building — tested positive for asbestos.

He presented his findings to the board at the June 11 meeting and asked the township to hire ACM Environmental to get a second opinion.

His motion to do so was voted down 2-3 with himself and David Zelmer in favor and Hicks, David Kuhn and Don Vite opposed.

LeClaire left the meeting in protest after his motion failed.

“I said, well, I am not going to support this kind of behavior,” he said. “I felt it needed a second opinion.”

After LeClaire left, the board voted to have Wightman Environmental do further testing in both buildings.

In a telephone interview one week after the meeting, LeClaire said he is pleased that the board decided to proceed with more testing, even though it is not with the company he suggested.

“I am glad they did that,” he said. “Either one (of those companies) is a reputable firm that will meet state regulations. That is what I’ve been after for some time.”