The Montgomery County Housing Authority just issued the following press release:
August 12, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joel A. Johnson, AICP, P.H.M.
Montgomery County Housing Authority montcoha.org
Lee Tower Residents Temporarily Re-located
The Montgomery County Housing Authority (MCHA) has temporarily relocated approximately 40 residents of Marshall Lee Towers in Conshohocken to two nearby hotels.
The relocation is expected to last approximately four days while environmental tests are conducted and, if necessary, remediation performed for the possible disturbance of asbestos particles during a recent minor construction project.
The health threat for residents and staff at Marshall Lee Towers is very low, according to Dr. Joseph DiMino, Director of Health for Montgomery County.
But in operating with an abundance of caution, and to relieve any inconveniences the work might cause, the decision was made to relocate residents from the affected areas for a period of up to approximately four days, said MCHA Executive Director Joel Johnson.
The potential for a problem came to light because MCHA is conducting an environmental assessment on all of its properties. The assessment found that ceiling material at Marshall Lee Towers contain some asbestos materials.
Such findings in buildings of this age are common and if left undisturbed the ceiling material would not be a health hazard at all.
However, several weeks ago MCHA had commenced a project to upgrade the fire alarm system at Marshall Lee Towers and some minor drilling occurred in the ceilings.
The testing will involve air quality sampling and consultants have advised that any remediation will likely involve wiping down surfaces and cleaning any dust in the affected areas and perhaps a fresh coat of paint all performed by certified professionals, Johnson said.
“The health threat from asbestos has to do with the amount of exposure over a period of time,” Dr. DiMino said. “The potential exposure here is really minor.”