Asbestos in Old Apartment Complex Makes Demolition Expensive
In the middle of Alamogordo, Texas sits an apartment complex that’s long been an eyesore. It’s not unlike other such complexes in dozens of blighted cities throughout the country.
This one has sat vacant for many years, but townspeople have never given up hope that someday someone would come along and turn the sprawling complex into something useful, either by renovating it or demolishing it to make way for a shopping center, homes, or even a school.
But, for the government of Alamogordo, which had decided to demolish the buildings at the Sahara Apartments, the project suddenly got very expensive.
A building inspector recently told them that there is toxic asbestos in every corner of each of the buildings there.
“The lab indicated there was asbestos in nearly every area of the buildings including the exterior plaster, the window glazing, the multi-layered flooring and mastic, the vinyl floor tile, the drywall compound and texture and the additional floor tile,” city manager Maggie Paluch reported at a recent meeting.
“The testing contractor believes that since the asbestos is so widespread throughout the buildings as well as the condition of the buildings from the rains, flooding and being out in the elements for so long, that a certified company is going to have to come in to dispose of the asbestos and demolish the buildings per EPA standards,” Paluch added. “We can’t just go in and abate the asbestos and then city staff would have to come back in or hire a contractor to demolish the buildings, that’s not the case anymore.”
The new findings will greatly increase the price of demolition of the apartments, Paluch pointed out, and though they will go after the owner for the costs, there’s no guarantee that whoever that is will pay.
That means the city would have to foreclose on the property and wind up footing the bill anyway.
In the meantime, local law enforcement is working as hard as it can to keep trespassers out of the apartments, including teens and others who have vandalized the remains.
What none of those trespassers know, however, is that every time they enter the Sahara Apartments premises – both inside and out – they are exposing themselves to hazardous asbestos, which can cause them great harm.
Some suggested to Paluch, however, that the problem is easier solved and that they simply burn down the buildings since “asbestos doesn’t burn”.
But such a scenario would cause asbestos fibers to circulate throughout the air during and after the fire, causing a hazard for anyone within a few miles radius of the complex.
So, until a solution can be reached, the city manager simply suggests that everyone stay away from the Sahara and encourage others to do so too while also reporting any trespassers they spot on the property.