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EPA to test for asbestos in northeast Minneapolis; meeting Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m.

Release Date: 09/09/2008
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov Don de Blasio, 312-886-4360, deblasio.don@epa.gov (MPCA) CoriAhna Rude-Young, 651-296-5965 (MDH) Tannie Eshenaur, 651-201-4873

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 08-OPA141

CHICAGO (Sept. 9, 2008) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 will begin an indoor air assessment involving 30 to 50 homes in northeast Minneapolis on Sept. 24.

The homes selected are a sample of the more than 260 residences where outdoor areas were cleaned of "Libby asbestos" contamination from the long-closed Western Mineral Products/W.R. Grace plant at 1720 Madison St. EPA conducted a series of cleanups starting in 2000 in the Holland, Logan Park and Sheridan neighborhoods. EPA will now assess indoor dust and air to confirm that "Libby asbestos" fibers from the Western Mineral plant have not gotten into homes.

Mailings to the 30 to 50 homes will arrive in the next few days. EPA outreach staff will then contact residents and owners for voluntary access permission. Generally, EPA's technicians will collect samples of air and dust from two locations in each home using environmental monitoring equipment.

A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16, at the Logan Recreation Center, 690 13th Ave. N.E. EPA staff will be joined representatives from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Health and the city of Minneapolis.

Laboratory analysis of the samples collected may take up to four months to process and evaluate, with the results provided to residents and owners of the tested homes. If necessary, based on the data generated in September, EPA may schedule a second round of tests on an additional group of homes in early 2009.

The Western Mineral Products/W.R. Grace plant operated from the late 1930s until the late 1980s. The facility processed vermiculite ore from a mine in Libby, Mont., that was contaminated with asbestos. Locally this material is sometimes called "Libby asbestos."

Residents with questions about the asbestos assessment or with special accommodation requests for the public meeting may contact EPA community involvement coordinator Don de Blasio, 800-621-8431, Ext. 64360, or deblasio.don@epa.gov. Find more information including a fact sheet at http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/neminneapolis. Technical documents are available for review at the Hennepin County Library Northeast, 2200 Central Ave. N.E.

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