Portland, OR—DEQ and EPA emergency response crews have determined the geographic extent of where asbestos-containing debris landed from the May 14 warehouse fire near the east side of the Fremont bridge. Debris was identified along the west bank of the Willamette River between the Fremont and Ross Island Bridges and extends up to a half-mile inland. Some pieces of debris were also identified and cleaned up on the east side of the river.
All publicly accessible areas surveyed have been cleaned up. Cleanup efforts are now focused on rooftops to prevent recontamination of areas that have already been surveyed and cleaned up.
In addition to the stationary air monitors, some field crew are wearing portable, personal air samplers to measure asbestos concentrations in their breathing zone as they perform debris reconnaissance and recovery duties. These personal devices are yielding data similar to the five stationary air sampling devices of either ‘no detections' of asbestos fibers or levels that are well below action levels. This means there are no special precautions people need to take as they go about their daily lives
EPA and DEQ have also begun activity based sampling, a type of monitoring that collects air quality data while crews mimic daily activities such as raking and mowing to better understand potential public health risks for such activities. The agencies will use this information to inform the next steps of the response.
DEQ and EPA have updated a map of the debris search and cleanup area with updated air sampling results. This map integrates all response information in a spatial context and can be found at http://arcg.is/2q1W5o7
Crews continue misting the warehouse debris pile with water. The misting efforts will continue around the clock to prevent further release of asbestos fibers.
Community outreach efforts also continue, with teams walking affected neighborhoods and supplying safety tips and information about the cleanup.
Public Safety Tips:
Do not touch, pick up, move or vacuum any debris that may have come from the fire. Asbestos-containing debris will look like ash or paper, and crumbles into fibers easily.
If you find any of this debris, do not touch it and please call 503-229-6488. Leave a message with: your name and phone number, address or location where you saw the debris, and what the debris looks like. We will contact you with more information.
For incident response updates visit: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/Programs/Pages/River-Str...
Matthew VanSickle, Public Information Officer, DEQ, 971-284-7500 email@example.com
Rusty Harris-Bishop, Public Information Officer, EPA, 415-694-8840, firstname.lastname@example.org