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June 14, 2001
Robert F. Jenkins
Manufacturing and Engineering
Grace Construction Products
W.R. Grace and Co.- Conn.
62 Whittemore Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140-1692
Dear Mr. Jenkins:
I have learned that W.R. Grace is planning to dig a utility trench at 62 Whittemore Avenue. I am asking that your plans include necessary safety measures for preventing the release of asbestos from the soil.
I am writing to request that you either 1) desist from disturbing soil as it may contain asbestos and result in asbestos becoming airborne; or 2) if you decide to excavate, that you do the appropriate tenting and venting of the area as it is excavated.
I am not a scientific or public health expert. However, I am led to believe that soil that has been shown to contain asbestos should not be disturbed; any development should be built on top of the existing soil. If that is not feasible in the case of utilities, then such construction should include appropriate precautions because doing so represents, at minimum, a public health risk. Adequate precautions should include extensive tenting and venting and setting the level of the asbestos air-monitoring device to ensure the safety of the neighborhood.
It may be that you believe that such action is more than is required. Nevertheless, every time Grace acts in a manner that some consider as cutting corners and others consider as downright dangerous, neighborhood concerns well up to an enormous extent. I cannot believe that it is not to your interest to mitigate these concerns even at some cost.
Please keep me posted as to your plans and let me know if there is some way in which I can be helpful. Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.
cc: Alewife Study group, Congressman Capuano, Senator Tolman, Sam Lipson
Alice Wolf's website is www.alicewolf.org
Contact the Alewife Study Group, North Cambridge Massachusetts, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org