VA Medical Center Cited for Improperly Disposing Asbestos

- BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. - The Department of Environmental Protection recently issued a citation to the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg for improper disposal of asbestos and/or construction material at an un-permitted site. 

The DEPT issued a notice of violation to the hospital on July 24, 2014. The asbestos was discovered in soil last month by a general contractor for the VA Medical Center, known as "Greenland Enterprises", during the demolition of a concrete slab for the hospital's boiler plant, which was constructed back in the 1950's. 

Hospital Media Spokesman Michael McAleer said two truckloads of waste and soil were removed from the site and taken to a dump. 

According to Department spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater, they're still evaluating the situation. Gillenwater said the materials were taken to Greg Shiley Farm, also known as "Shiley Acres" located in Inwood, West Virginia. The department doesn't have an exact amount of how much was taken there. What they do know it that this particular farm was not properly permitted to accept this type of waste. 

Gillenwater said samples were taken from the demolition site under the concrete slab and came back as two types of fibers, with 40 percent reading as dangerous materials containing asbestos. She stated the percentage was an alarming number, and normally a reading is at five to ten percent. 

At least two truck loads containing this material were brought to the farm, on July 11 and July 17. On July 21, 2014 questionable debris was located at the hospital's boiler plant, and that's when "Greenland Enterprises" stopped the demolition project and contacted the VA Medical Center, where the area was sectioned off with tape and Boggs Environment consulting firm was called in to collect samples. 

According to Gillenwater, the Department of Environment Protection is still evaluating whether additional enforcement action is warranted, and whether additional citations or fines are necessary. A member with the VA Medical Center is heading back to the location next week where the materials were taken for further testing to send back to DEPT. The department is still evaluating whether it's better to remove the material from the farm or to cover it, and if it poses any negative effects. 

McAleer said a testing plan to determine what mitigation might be necessary has been submitted to the department. 

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