"There were no real screaming-high levels," said EPA On-Scene
Coordinator Eric Delgado of the results from February's Big Tex sampling, but they did
confirm the 2006 preliminary tests that showed worrisomely high levels
of amphibole-asbestos contamination on the Southtown site, which
processed tremolite-asbestos-laden vermiculite from Libby, Montana, for
almost three decades.
EPA used the most recent results, based on approximately 300 soil
samples, to identify 11 areas for activity-based sampling (read:
raking), which they're wrapping up today. The material collected,
including filters in which amphibole asbestos is clearly visible, will
be sent off for evaluation, with results expected in four to six weeks.
That set of data gets plugged into the EPA's risk-assessment matrix,
and out comes a plan for site remediation, although Delgado said he
suspects they'll be digging out and replacing the dirt in a 15-20-foot
radius around the expansion facility, where the vermiculite was heated
until it popped. Delgado said they also found amphibole-asbestos
residue around the rail spurs used to deliver vermiculite to the
facility along the banks of the San Antonio River, although they won't
know what the exposure risk in that area is, either, until the get
those test results.