Environment, North America, United States, Federal Government, Emergency Response
Restoring Hope in Libby
Asbestos Emergency Response in Libby
The pristine views from Libby, Montana, make it difficult to imagine that a public health crisis has unfolded here. For 70 years, vermiculite was mined and processed in Libby for use in insulation and soil amendments, with the product donated across the community. In 1999, nearly a decade after the mine closed, elevated death rates in Libby from asbestos fiber in the vermiculite triggered a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emergency investigation and response.
This unprecedented $80 million Superfund cleanup in Libby, Montana, is boosting the local economy and protecting public health.
Since then, we have served as prime contractor and almost 300 employees have investigated, managed, designed and overseen restoration on this unprecedented $80 million investigation and Superfund cleanup. The project has included the largest single-season field investigation in EPA history, assessing more than 4,200 residential properties spread across 180 square miles; cleanup of 1,100 commercial and residential properties; the removal of more than 600,000 cubic yards of asbestos-contaminated waste from major source areas and structures; and an information management system that organized more than 1 million pieces of data, aiding EPA in securing $54.5 million in cleanup costs.
The project is bettering the Libby community in ways that reach far beyond the cleanups. Key project team members have relocated to Libby and project personnel play active roles in civic activities. Nearly half a million dollars are spent annually on office space and equipment rentals, supplies, communication systems, vehicles, food, and lodging. And, $1 million has been awarded in subcontracts to local businesses for a variety of services, boosting the local economy and protecting public health.