Airport construction uncovers asbestos

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 23, 2014

Asbestos-containing materials have been discovered on the outside walls at the Charleston International Airport.

Preliminary test results indicate that the glue used to install waterproofing material on the walls in front of the terminal and behind the outside walls of Concourse A has tested positive for containing asbestos materials.

Crews found the asbestos materials late last week while working on construction as part of the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program. The area had been concealed behind brick and concrete walls before demolition began.

“The uncovering of concealed asbestos-containing material is not unusual in a building that is nearly 30 years old and in a construction project of this magnitude,” according to a statement from the Charleston County Aviation Authority. “More importantly, the airport is acting swiftly to address this, and we want the traveling public to know that the airport is safe.”

The aviation authority’s administration, program manager and construction manager immediately ceased demolition in the affected areas and barricaded the area to the public, according to a statement.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control was immediately notified. A representative will assess the areas and recommend a course of action. In the interim, air quality monitoring systems are being installed in the demolition areas.

Before renovations began, the aviation authority hired experts to survey and test for any asbestos that might be in the terminal.

Tests revealed limited asbestos-containing materials in the glue under vinyl flooring in a handful of areas in the airport. All state and federal regulations regarding containment, handling and removal of the asbestos-containing glue are being followed.

“We do not anticipate any interruptions to airport operations. Construction continues in other parts of the airport,” the authority said in a statement. “We want our airport partners, employees and the traveling public to be assured that your welfare and safety is important to us and that we are working diligently and quickly to address this.”

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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