CHELSEA - Skyeye was overhead as workers in Chelsea set up equipment and ash stations preparing to move a pile of debris containing asbestos out of state.
Concerned about the health risks, on Friday the city of Chelsea began testing the homes closest to the hazardous material. On Monday residents got good news, the results showed no traces of asbestos.
An I-Team Investigation found the state Department of Transportation dumped the pile containing asbestos in what they call a layover area off of Route 1. MassDOT left it there without telling Chelsea.
The I-Team now learning that the hazardous construction material was put there last July and had been sitting there uncovered next to a public housing development.
Chelsea City Council President Roy Avellaneda says he has seen construction material stored at that site, including concrete pipes and PVC pipes. But Avellaneda had no idea the state dumped asbestos there until the WBZ I-Team told him. "Shame on them for doing it," he said.
After the I-Team first reported the story, the state covered the pile, apologized to Chelsea and agreed to remove it immediately. UMass Amherst public health professor Richard Peltier says moving asbestos is when it becomes the most dangerous. Once you start to disturb the pile you stir up dust. Telling the I-Team the state has the right action plan for the removal which includes decontamination units and air quality monitoring which he says must be done at the site and in the neighborhoods nearby.
Chelsea has hired a private contractor to continue to monitor and test throughout the process. That testing involves soil samples and air quality monitoring. Knowing it will take up to a month to remove the entire pile.
Chelsea says it is committed to making sure the area is safe for its residents. CDW, the private contractor, said it will also be reviewing the state's monitoring results to ensure there are no discrepancies.
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