Woman Worried About Asbestos Seals Homes in Plastic

A woman who owns several rental homes in Ithaca, New York has chosen to wrap them in plastic, fearing that they will otherwise be contaminated by the asbestos she believes will be released as authorities continue to tear down the Old Tompkins County Public Library, located just across the street from many of her properties.

Woman Worried About Asbestos Seals Homes in PlasticSusan Kramer, who owns a number of houses on West Court Street, has wrapped entrances and windows in plastic because she claims there are chemicals coming from the decrepit library building, where demolition began on December 17.

“It is not just frustrating. It is really terrifying,” Kramer said. “We are afraid short term and long term of the contamination that is occurring here that we are watching occur on a daily basis.”

Discussion about the demolition and its safety has being ongoing since mid-summer 2018 and many residents in addition to Kramer have not been happy about the way the process has been handled.

However, the property owners, Travis Hyde Properties, claim that everything about the demolition is up to standard and that the air around the aging structure is safe.

They provided a fact sheet to area residents that provided specifics about the process in order to try to ease minds.

But Kramer wasn’t pacified. She worries about her tenants, which include both adults and children, and wants to be sure that she’s doing everything she can to protect them from harm.

She’s doing it because she believes others in charge aren’t as concerned about doing the right thing.

Concerns about the roof and its condition meant that abatement professionals could not go inside the library to remove existing asbestos. In fact, the city condemned the building, which sealed the deal as far as the inability to remove asbestos-containing materials in a more traditional manner was concerned.

Instead, “the demolition contractor is using an ultra-high reach demolition excavator to deconstruct the building bit by bit,” the city managers explained.

“For the purpose of dust suppression, the site is being continuously sprayed during actual demolition work with a large mister similar to a snow maker one would see at a ski resort.

Stockpiles of demolished materials are wetted down and covered every evening,” the explanation continues. “When enough material has accumulated, it is loaded into to a large truck with a fully lined cargo hold and a sealed cover. Any water that isn’t absorbed by the demolition debris is collected, and triple filtered for particulates. This water may then be re-used for spraying.”

But Susan Kramer – and perhaps others like her – thinks there’s too much room for error. She told local NewsChannel 9 that Travis Hyde Properties and the City of Ithaca cut corners in approving and in carrying out the demolition, despite the fact that Frost Travis, President of Travis Hyde Properties, told reporters that his company has been in Ithaca for decades, cares about the city, and is following all protocols.