Crews remove asbestos from RockTenn paper mill, Otsego

Otsego’s demolition project begins with crews removing asbestos from an old paper mill. The special crews will be especially cautious in order to ensure that the workmen or the community are not endangered by the asbestos fibers. Otsego is still testing for contamination with asbestos.

The crew members have planned to dispose of the uncovered asbestos fibers at an approved landfill. Once the task is accomplished, the plan is to completely get rid of the old plant. After the demolition, they hope to find someone who can redevelop the property.

The statements by the EPA

The Rock Tenn paper mill has been vacant since 2004 when it stopped operating. The EPA has said it will get rid of the asbestos from the old facility and probably demolish the project as the building is deemed unsafe.

The EPA held a meeting for the public in Otsego in order to brief the residents regarding the cleanup plan. The EPA will spend approximately $1 million on the cleanup and it is expected to take around three months to complete. In 1975, the EPA had banned the installation of asbestos pipe and block insulation on facility components like hot water tanks and boilers.

Plans for further development

A resident, Pam McQueer, who is partially blind, believes her condition is somewhat linked to the environmental contamination from the time when she lived near Menasha paper mill in the 1970s. She is glad that there is more awareness about the mishandling of the contamination.

Tricia Edwards, federal on-scene coordinator for the EPA said that the monitoring equipment will alert the workers if there is any particulate in the air.

Developers who have approached the EPA so far have been hesitant given the asbestos contamination in the powerhouse, as said by Dan Wedge, the Executive Director of Services at Allegan County.

Walter Yeates

Author

Walter Yeates is a journalist who was embedded with Veterans Stand For when they traveled to Standing Rock. He also hosts Gentleman's Hall a show centered around his journalism. Walter has published hundreds of articles in the realms of consumer health and workplace safety. He graduated from East Carolina University with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy.