APG may get U.S. aid for asbestos cleanup

June 28, 1994|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Sun Staff Writer

Aberdeen Proving Ground could get nearly $5 million to clean up asbestos at the base, Rep. Helen Delich Bentley said yesterday.

The 2nd District Republican said the House Appropriations Committee, of which she is a member, has agreed to grant APG $4.7 million to convert fiber asbestos -- which can cause cancer and asbestosis -- into inert, nontoxic materials that can be disposed of safely in landfills or at other waste sites.

A Bentley aide said untreated asbestos will gradually rise to the top of any landfill or waste site but that treated asbestos does not.

The grant, which would be available in fiscal 1995, still needs approval from the House and the Senate.

Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann said she was pleased that federal money could be used to clean up the base. "Efforts like these are very important to APG's future," she said.

The proving ground has a considerable asbestos problem. Mrs. Bentley said in a press release that 1,820 buildings out of the 2,100 buildings on the post contain asbestos.

About 534,262 linear feet of pipe insulation at the base contain asbestos, along with more than 10 million square feet of building materials, such as wall or ceiling panels, or flooring.

The Bentley spokesman said the $4.7 million grant would contain some restrictions. One is that the base would be limited to spending no more than $300,000 for leasing or buying the conversion equipment, so the bulk of the grant money would be spent for asbestos removal in the buildings.

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