EPA Conducting Asbestos Sampling at Alviso Superfund Site
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)is conducting
activity-based asbestos sampling work at the South Bay Asbestos
Superfund Site in Alviso, Calif. during the week of August 20-25.
"We are sampling in order to determine if there is any potential
for significant exposure to asbestos from normal dust-generating
activities, such as driving a vehicle or bicycling," said Eric Yunker,
the EPA project manager for the site.
EPA will sample several different areas of the site including:
• Any unpaved truck yards where there is significant vehicular
• State Street and the majority of other streets in the community
north of the Guadalupe River.
• The sports field behind George Mayne Elementary School.
During a required five-year review conducted in 2005, EPA found
the site does not pose a risk to human health or the environment. The
major potential sources of asbestos exposure at the site are being
controlled by capping of landfills or have been removed, such as the
flood control ring levee.
EPA is conducting the current round of sampling because recent
information has shown that previously conducted soil-based sampling can
underestimate the exposure to people who are involved in activities that
disturb asbestos-containing soils. EPA technicians will take air
samples while simulating soil-disturbing activities that might cause
exposure to asbestos fibers, such as driving vehicles, riding bicycles
or raking the ground.
Technicians are connected to air monitors in order to measure
asbestos concentrations in the air where activities occur. Stationary
air monitors are also set up next to sampling locations to measure
airborne asbestos levels and identify sources.
During sampling activities, technicians wear white protective
clothing and respirators as a precaution. Because these technicians
routinely work with hazardous materials, federal health and safety rules
require them to wear protective gear.
EPA will report sampling results in a fact sheet and on the
agency's Web site later this year. The agency will evaluate the results,
and continue to inform the community of any future activities that may
be necessary at the site.
This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.