BLUE RIDGE, Ga – A hazardous materials survey revealed asbestos, mold, lead-based paint, and lead-containing paint within the former Whitepath facility.
A state-certified asbestos inspector with Contour Engineering surveyed the property on March 17, 2021. They conducted a visual inspection and collected samples for testing. “89 bulk asbestos samples were collected with 106 samples or layers from 55 homogeneous areas of suspect asbestos containing materials from structures.”
Testing identified 12 instances of asbestos containing materials (ACM) inside and outside the building. EPA and OSHA define ACM as materials containing greater than one percent of asbestos. The locations are as follows:
- Vinyl Composition Floor Tile
- Floor Tile Mastic
- Remnant Flashing
- Roof Coating
- Remnant Parapet
- Remnant Roof
A Georgia Environmental Protection Agency licensed asbestos abatement contractor was recommended to remove and dispose of the asbestos before renovations begin.
All instances of asbestos were non-friable or less likely to release harmful fibers into the air. The type of asbestos was chrysotile, which is the most common and dangerous if inhaled.
Five out of 23 paint samples came back as lead-based paint on the metal door to the basement, wood door to the shop, structure beam, and warehouse structural support. Lead-based paint is defined as a coating with a lead content of 0.5 percent or greater by weight.
Lead-containing paint was located in two areas pink paint on the concrete masonry unit (CMU) walls and white paint on the front interior CMU walls. In lead containing paint, the concentration of lead is greater than 0.06 percent.
During renovations, a contractor must first perform an initial exposure assessment of all workplaces to determine employees’ exposure potential. Also, people who encountered lead-based or containing paint must be monitored.
Two instances of observable mold, six water stains, and 10 active water leaks were located by Contour Engineering. The mold appeared on the wallboards in the front office and on the carpet/ carpet glue in the engineering offices.
Mold grows due to elevated levels of moisture and can potentially release allergens or toxic spores into the air. Roof and window leaks were close to the entrance and offices. The roof leak also produced several instances of standing water inside the warehouse. Contour Engineering recommended visual and air clearance takes place before renovations begin. Further mold remediation depends upon the extent of the renovation plan.
Additional mold, asbestos, and lead-based paint may be present. Any suspected materials should be considered ACM and lead-based paint until tested.
Contour Engineering out of Kennesaw investigated the building for the purpose of future renovation by the county. Fannin County purchased the building in 2019 for $1.3 million with the intent to use it for administrative purposes.
Earlier in 2021, Post Two Glenn Patterson requested that Whitepath undergo hazardous material testing to gauge the state of the building. Patterson’s the only remaining board member from 2019 when the commission approved the purchase.
After executive session on Tuesday, Chairman Jamie Hensley said the entire report will be available on the Fannin County website.
FYN will update this story as soon as more details become available.