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The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) is the entity that can issue these sort of waivers. Typically, only landfills with specific operations intended for asbestos mitigation are certified to accept that type of material. For this specific case, CDPHE issued a temporary waiver to Front Range Landfill for 60 days to accept debris from the Marshall Fire. The Town was consulted by CDPHE and ultimately supported the decision.
To be clear, just because this waiver is in place, this does not guarantee that asbestos will indeed end up in the landfill. It is not clear how many, if any, of the homes that were damaged or destroyed in the Marshall Fire had any asbestos within them. This waiver allows for bringing this debris to the closest landfill, Erie, for expediting cleanup of the devastation, regardless of the presence of asbestos.
As an operational matter, the decision to give consent for the CDPHE 60-day waiver was the responsibility of the Public Works Director. The Board of Trustees focuses on policymaking for the Town, and staff is responsible for operational issues. So in this case, the Board of Trustees did not need to vote or give consent for this decision.
When originally approached by CDPHE to help with the recovery efforts, the Town reviewed the waiver thoroughly. Staff then asked that CDPHE limit the waiver to 60 days rather than the duration of the recovery event. While the recovery will take much longer, the Town wanted to have an opportunity early on to review how the debris disposal was going. This means that after 60 days, the Town can re-evaluate whether to continue accepting this debris.
The Town also asked that the waiver include specific terms by which the debris would be contained and covered as it is dropped at the landfill.
Please use the ErieSubmit service to submit more questions about this. At this time, please use the "Other" category topic.
To use ErieSubmit:
The Town of Erie is not the only entity CDPHE contacts. They also requested that Foothills Landfill in Golden (which accepted similar waste during last summer's wildfires) accept this waste as well. At this time, it is unclear whether that consent has been given from the Foothills Landfill.
The next closest landfill would be Tower Road, near the Denver International Airport. The distance to travel between the affected homes and the landfill on Tower Road is more than double the distance to Erie. If the debris had to be trucked that distance, it would also have the consequence of drastically extending the length and cost of cleanup and recovery for our neighbors.
A small percentage of the waste collected at the burn site could contain asbestos. Due to the fact that this debris could contain asbestos, it has to be handled as if it does contain asbestos.
Significant precautions are in place to ensure any debris - including asbestos - is contained thoroughly as outlined in the temporary waiver.
According to the definition from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Asbestos has been used in products, such as insulation for pipes (steam lines for example), floor tiles, building materials, and in vehicle brakes and clutches. Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated or altered. Heavy exposures tend to occur in the construction industry and in ship repair, particularly during the removal of asbestos materials due to renovation, repairs, or demolition. Workers are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work.
Building materials (siding, flooring, etc.) leading up to the 1970's included asbestos, partly due to its resistance to fire. As health issues related to asbestos became more known this practice of using asbestos in building materials was mostly halted in the 1980's.
Some homes built before the '80s have had asbestos mitigation measures taken, some have not. At this point, it is unknown how many (if any) of the homes in the Marshall Fire had asbestos in their building materials.
All debris from the Marshall Fire burn area will be bagged at the burn site. Then material is then placed in covered bins for transport by an approved list of haulers.
Yes, the Town of Erie has an existing air quality monitoring program throughout Town limits with monitoring sites at the northern and southern ends of the landfill. These monitoring stations are equipped with multiple particulate sensors and real-team notifications.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is the regulatory authority for the landfill permit. Additionally, CDPHE staff and Town staff can and will make site visits to inspect this debris as it is brought to the landfill site.
Front Range Landfill management has agreed to these additional measures:
The Town does not make profit as an entity.
The Town receives funding from a surcharge fee which is charged by the landfill. The fee is intended to offset impacts to Town roads from the large hauling trucks.
We have been informed by the Front Range Landfill that they are charging standard fees and intending to donate a portion of those fees to those impacted by the disaster.
If you would like to donate fund to the families who have damaged or destroyed homes, please visit the Community Foundation.
At this time, physical donations of items are not able to be accommodated. You can list what items you have to donate on a donation form and if someone can use you item or service, you will be contacted.
You can sign up to volunteer for clean-up or restoration work. This sign-up will put you on a list to be contacted as soon as volunteer projects are started.