Discovery of asbestos slows cleanup of Main Street building

Work scheduled to start in July

Cleanup of a Main Street building that was destroyed by a February fire has been delayed because low levels of asbestos were found.

A contractor is expected to begin removing the building’s debris in early July, said Bill Armstrong, owner of the property. The building was home to a co-working space, a shoe store and a flooring company is lies between The White Cup Coffeehouse and the law office of Kelly McCabe.

The asbestos on the lot required the owner to hire a certified contractor with a permit to clear the building materials, he said. Asbestos was found in the tar paper in the roof and other building materials.

Asbestos in tar paper is not a public health concern because the asbestos fibers are bound up in the sticky asphaltic base of the tar paper and don’t break loose to be inhaled, said Steve Fine, the program manager of the indoor environment program for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The use of asbestos in insulation materials was discontinued in the late 1970s after it was found to cause cancer if inhaled in large amounts. The building’s owner was required to have an environmental report on the building done because of its age.

Armstrong said it was tough to find a company to do the cleanup because most certified asbestos professionals are based on the Front Range. He has hired Envirotech, of Farmington, for the demolition.

Armstrong plans to put the lot up for sale.

“We’re hoping somebody else will have a use for the property and make it a bigger, nicer place,” he said.

Paying for the cleanup has been several times more expensive than it otherwise would have been.

Armstrong cautions owners of older buildings to have plenty of insurance to cover a similar situation.

“We’re learning all this stuff the hard way,” he said.