Cleanup is underway in Boston after asbestos was found in debris spewed from a steam pipe burst. Crews were working well into Sunday evening to clean up the asbestos from the intersection.
Authorities say an underground steam pipe sprayed the material onto the road. Fire officials and hazmat crews were called to the scene at 5:30 am Saturday after the leak left unknown debris on roadways.
Several streets near 99 Summer St. were closed due to the leak. Officials hope to have the area cleaned and ready for the Monday morning commute.
The company that operates the steam pipeline, Veolia, said they have “dedicated crews working around the clock to restore the area to normal service.”
Veolia organized and managed the cleanup efforts, according to Brian Alkins, Boston Fire Department spokesman. The company says that the source of the asbestos and the cause of the event are still being investigated.
Air samples were tested and found no impact on air quality, according to Veolia. A spokeswoman for the company said there is no ongoing threat to the public.
Asbestos is an ongoing concern for the people of Massachusetts. The state saw 6,388 asbestos-related deaths between 1999 and 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A high number of those deaths were caused by mesothelioma.
Part of the problem, according to experts, is that a lot of buildings in Massachusetts are undergoing renovations. Old homes are being torn down for new construction, making asbestos exposure more common and problematic.
MassDEP (Department of Environmental Protection) takes asbestos removal very seriously. Together, the Attorney General’s office and MassDEP have brought asbestos enforcement cases that have totaled $3 million in civil penalties since 2017.
Massachusetts isn’t the only state dealing with concerns of asbestos exposure. According to the CDC, more than 1 million American workers are still exposed to asbestos on the job.