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E-M:/ johns manville lives



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Enviro-Mich message from "Harris, Craig" <Craig.Harris@ssc.msu.edu>
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fyi . . . from reuters 
craig


                Asbestos leak threatens Lake Michigan - report

                USA: July 26, 1999

                CHICAGO - Asbestos is leaking into the groundwater
                beneath a dump site next to Illinois Beach State Park
                and heading toward Lake Michigan, a local paper
                reported. 

                The $18 million Johns Manville Superfund dump site near
                the north edge of Waukegan, Illinois, contains 3.7 million
                cubic yards of asbestos waste which is seeping into nearby
                groundwater because the dump lacks a liner to confine the
                contaminants, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in its
                Sunday edition.

                State and federal officials said the cancer-causing
                substance's migration in the groundwater was detected at a
                test well near the lakefront, the paper reported. The test
                samples in question were taken in November of 1998.

                Johns Manville officials said they are not sure if the dump
is
                leaking, but said they disagree with the regulators'
                interpretation of the test data, the paper reported.

                Officials approved the dump's design in 1987, believing at
                the time that a liner was unnecessary.

                "But we were wrong," Brad Bradley, a U.S. Environmental
                Protection Agency specialist and project manager for
                cleanup of the Superfund site told the Chicago Sun-Times.
                "It is now the official position of the U.S. EPA that the
                asbestos is leaking and migrating."

                However, Bradley added, "We do not believe it is moving
                fast enough through the groundwater to represent a public
                health threat at this time."

                Paul Kakuris, head of Great Lakes Environmental Marine
                and a director of the Dunesland Society, told the paper he
                disagreed, calling the health threat "significant."

                The latest tests show that "at best, the asbestos has
                moved the 250 feet from the east end of the dump site to
                the well near the lakefront in just 75 years," Kakuris said.

                Johns Manville officials told the paper a 1977 study showed
                that larger asbestos fibers seem immobile, and even
                smaller pieces appear to move only 1 to 10 centimetres
                every 3,000 to 4,000 years.

                The plant began making asbestos products in 1922, it was
                reported.

                Under a court directive, Johns Manville stopped nationwide
                production of asbestos products in 1985, and the
                Waukegan site was put on the nation's Superfund list to
                force cleanup of the plant's dumps and asbestos-laced
                ponds, the paper said. 

                REUTERS NEWS SERVICE 
craig k harris
department of sociology
michigan state university
429b berkey hall
east lansing  michigan  48824-1111
tel:  517-355-5048
fax:  517-432-2856


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