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PacifiCorp to clean up contamination in downtown SLC

Release Date: 8/16/2004
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      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and PacifiCorp (formerly Utah Power and Light) have entered into an Administrative Order on Consent for the clean up of asbestos contamination at PacifiCorp’s power substation at 333 West 100 South in downtown Salt Lake City.

      PacifiCorp will ensure excavation and proper disposal of approximately 3,900 cubic yards of asbestos-contaminated dust and soil from the site. As appropriate, excavations will be backfilled with clean soil and gravel, restoring the site to its preexisting condition. The substation will remain operational throughout the clean up. The work will be performed by licensed, experienced asbestos-removal contractors and all appropriate safety precautions will be taken. Clean up began August 11 and is expected to continue for ten weeks.

      Quantities of asbestos-bearing ore from the Vermiculite Mine in Libby, Mont., were processed on a parcel immediately adjacent to the substation from the early 1940s until the early 1980s, at which time the plant was shut down and relocated. Process residues remain scattered across the substation's ground surface.

      Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals that have been mined for their useful properties such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability and high tensile strength. Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibers that may become airborne when disturbed. These fibers may be inhaled into the lungs where they can cause significant health problems.

      Asbestos, a recognized human carcinogen, is known to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a lethal tumor of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavities. Exposure to asbestos can also cause asbestosis, a disease characterized by fibrotic scarring of the lung. Soil containing asbestos may pose a risk to the health and safety of people residing in contaminated areas and in the surrounding community.

      For more information on asbestos and asbestos-related diseases: