Vermont Asbestos Processing Plant

Vermont Town May Build Asbestos Processing Plant

In the North Country of Vermont in a town called Groveton, there’s a plan afoot to build an asbestos processing plant that will assist in cleaning up the more than 30 million tons of asbestos waste tailings that sit on the property of the now defunct Lowell-Eden Asbestos Mine on the state’s Belvidere Mountain.

Town May Build Asbestos Processing PlantThe plan for the waste processing facility, notes an article in the Caledonian Record, stems from the need to comply to a federally-mandated clean-up of the old asbestos mine, which ceased operations about 20 years ago, long after it became abundantly clear that asbestos exposure was a deadly hazard.

The 1,540-acre mine was run by a corporation known as the Vermont Asbestos Group, which reached a settlement in 2013 with the EPA and the Vermont attorney general in regards to their contribution towards the clean-up of the site, which is not only an eyesore but also a health hazard.

Even if the plant becomes a reality, the process of ridding the area of the asbestos tailings and waste rock won’t be a quick one, notes the newspaper article.

It will likely take several decades – not years – to transport those 30 million tons to the proposed processing plant, where the materials would be converted into chemicals to be used in manufacturing.

“This has been five years in the making and would be another five years before it’s done,” said co-owner of the Vermont Asbestos Group, Howard Manosh. We’ve been working on it for quite a while … Hopefully, we can get something because I think it’s a good chance to re-mediate the waste piled up there and use it for a constructive purpose.”

In the meantime, Manosh and his partner are searching for an investor who can help them secure the funds to build the plant, which will cost about $200 million.

If plans for the plant come to fruition, it would – ironically – be built on a site that was once the location of the Wausau Paper Mill, where generations of workers were likely exposed to asbestos materials while on-the-job.

Nevertheless, Manosh and others say it’s the best location for the plant and that the townspeople are amenable to it being built there.

“Groveton wants it and they have the necessary energy, the natural gas pipeline, which makes it feasible,” Manosh stressed.