Residents Ask Councilman McDuffie to Investigate Asbestos, Air Pollution Concerns at McMillan Park
DC Agency Fails to Provide Asbestos Environmental Reports
More than a dozen Ward 5 residents are asking their Council representative Kenyan McDuffie to investigate potential asbestos and air pollution health risks at McMillan Park, following a recent engineering assessment that the concrete water filtration system was likely built with asbestos. If so, the City’s plans to develop the 25-acre site without proper testing and if appropriate, containment and clean-up, would pose severe health hazards to neighbors and the many others dependent on the nearby city reservoir.
“This is an environmental justice issue,” said Bloomingdale resident Melissa Peffers, whose Freedom of Information Act request response did not include the asbestos-related information she was seeking. “DC’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) told me there exists a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment dated November 4, 2013 and a Certificate of Analysis Report dated August 30, 2019, but they couldn’t give them to me directly.”
“I’m joining with other concerned residents to ask that our elected Council representative use his authority to investigate this situation and release these records. The community continues to have air pollution concerns. Demolition will definitely bring not only concerns about asbestos if it’s in the concrete but also dust, diesel pollution and other pollution like noise to our neighborhood when we already have the highest ozone pollution reading in the city,” she said. A meeting with Councilman McDuffie is being sought.
Recent court testimony by Charles Lockett, retired from the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington, DC, to the DC Office of Administrative Hearings indicated the likelihood that McMillan Park was built with asbestos.
“Given the era of construction in the early 1900s [when McMillan Park was built], it is likely the concrete was woven with asbestos as it was applied. Tests must be conducted and shared with the community to avoid any impacts to the health and well-being of the surrounding community. If the project to demolish this site almost entirely were to proceed, there will be significant dust made airborne, perhaps with asbestos fibers,” said Lockett, who lives in Ward 5.
McMillan Park, located at North Capitol Street NW, and Michigan Avenue NW, is a locally protected and nationally recognized historic landmark on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places. To date, more than 8,000 citizens signed a petition to preserve the Olmsted-designed park.
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