Asbestos Discovery at Apartment Complex Leaves Residents Angry and Demanding Answers

An apartment complex in Alexandria, Virginia, has its residents in a rage after renovations were halted by an EPA stop-work order due to asbestos.  One of the chief questions posed by residents is why the stop work order was not issued until three months into the renovation project.

The Apartment Complex

The complex is the Hunting Point on the Potomac, which was previously known as the Hunting Towers.  The complex contains 530 units and is approximately 63 years old.  The renovations that were initiated by the complex’s management were intended to replace older windows and floor tiles.  However, it was during the replacement process that the asbestos contamination was discovered.

The Asbestos Discovery

The asbestos was found in the halls and trash areas near the floor tile and window renovations.  An order from the EPA stopping the work was very significant; in fact, the agency typically only issues about five such orders a year.  Even rarer are work stoppages that are issued for occupied apartment buildings.  In addition to discovering asbestos at the work site, the EPA stated that the workers failed to seal the work area to protect residents from the dangers of asbestos dust.  Also, there was no certified supervisor present on the job, and the workers were not certified in the task of removing hazardous materials.

The next step for the EPA is to conduct testing for airborne asbestos.

The Tenants’ Reaction

Residents were outraged when they found out that the EPA deemed the complex to be so dangerous that they issued a work stoppage, but the complex had been conducting the work for three months prior to any EPA intervention.

A crowd of residents and other concerned parties gathered at Alexandria’s Lee Center to listen to the EPA explain the situation.  Many residents expressed anger and distrust of the owners and contractors.  One resident, Crystal Kilby, remarked “All the units should be sampled,” and added that “I live there.  I don’t want my health compromised.”  Doug Meckes, another resident, commented “The thing I find most disconcerting is it was necessary for a resident to bring this to your attention.  I’d like to know where the town of Alexandria was.”  Many parents were also concerned about their children coming into contact with asbestos when they crawl over possibly contaminated services.

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