Reviews and Reports

LATAG Reviews and ReportsOccasionally Libby Area Technical Assistance Group will publish various reports and reviews from LATAG and other agencies. These will be published on this page as they are released.

December 28, 2012 TA Review

Trihydro's Land Use Restrictions Report (LRU)

Review of Trihydro’s Report:

  • Land Use Restrictions Report
  • Asbestos Resource Program for Libby Amphibole
  • City of Libby, City of Troy, and Lincoln County, Montana

By Tony Ward
October 9, 2012.

Additions by Steve Ackerlund
December 28, 2012


Lincoln County’s Board of Health is developing an Asbestos Resource Program (ARP).  The ARP may include Local Health Regulations (LHRs), and will be used as an interim measure until EPA has completed a cumulative risk assessment, and final remedies are selected and implemented for the operable units at the Site. At that time, the Board of Health will consider adoption of LHRs to manage residual exposure to LA asbestos. In addition, the EPA may use the ARP as part of the interim and/or final institutional controls (ICs) for the site.

Trihydro was tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of current Land Use Restrictions (LURs) that may be adopted into LHRs.  As part of the Trihydro report, multiple laws, ordinances, regulations, codes, and resolutions were reviewed.  Overall, it appears that a thorough review was conducted of the existing statutes and procedures, with useful suggestions also provided where appropriate.  As the ARP is developed, it will be important to have strong leadership in streamlining / updating the many existing regulatory statutes to incorporate the common theme of preventing asbestos exposures.  This process could be advised by a committee consisting of members from Lincoln County Environmental Health, local realtors, Chamber of Commerce, etc.

Specific Comments:

Section 2.0.  It is important to document all potential sources of exposure that ICs programs might target.  In addition to “Cutting and burning local timber, and disturbing brush and duff”, there are other likely common practices within Libby that could expose people to asbestos.  This includes demolition, remodeling, excavation, well digging, etc.  A more thorough review of potential exposures could be listed here.

Either in this document, or in a future task order, the county may want to consider developing a comprehensive conceptual site model that identifies remaining sources of asbestos in the community and possible routes of exposure.  A conceptual site model is the standard tool used to assess risk and identify remediation needs such as ICs.
Conceptual site models can be prepared in various graphical ways that can serve as an effective tool for communicating remaining risks.

Section 3.1.1 Subdivision Regulations.  Need to get all paper copies of Lincoln County ordinances into electronic formats.  It would also be useful to have input from ARP (or other environmental focus) on the pre-application process.  Local knowledge of historically contaminated areas in Libby/Troy would be useful when reviewing the application process.  Perhaps they could have a pre-application review committee with Lincoln County planning staff?.  

Section  Prior to any development, should comprehensive visual and soil testing be considered at each proposed location, especially if a “new” site? To augment and support such a program,  perhaps consider an on-line database system that enables property owners and prospective purchasers to access basic information about prior remediation and testing at a property.  This kind of system is being considered at other Superfund sites in Montana as a way of streaming the investigation process, supporting real estate transactions, and encouraging property owners to maintain their properties to ensure the benefits of remediation are not undone. Section 4.3 of the report identifies what exists now in terms of a database.

Section Fire Protection Regulations.  During a fire, asbestos contained within non-remediated areas, such as insulation in walls, would be released to ambient air.  Some additional procedures may be needed to protect fire fighters and the public.  The fire department should be engaged regarding any additional regulation needs to support their work.

Section “drinking water” is missing in the following sentence: “….discussion of the potential to expose drinking water to LA asbestos….”.

Section  Consider a volunteer firewood and ash testing program.

Section  Perhaps consider testing of the sanding source to ensure that recontamination does not occur.

Section  Consider a volunteer firewood and ash testing program prior to outdoor burning.

Section 3.2.1.  Regarding building permits, Pperhaps consider testing (visual or soil) of the site prior to grading, excavation, or remodeling to ensure that recontamination does not occur. Beyond regulations, a permit system should consider aspects of a communication program that seeks to ensure compliance and capture small-scale projects that may not be part of a formal permit program.  The on-line database system mentioned in comments for Section might be part of this.

Section 3.2.1.    I think it would be important to extend this out to areas outside of Libby/Troy due to the possibility of naturally occurring LA in the ground.

Section 3.2.4.   For Troy, garbage and refuse are banned from burning May 1-Sept 30.  This could potentially be extended year round to eliminate potential exposures related to the burning of contaminated waste products.

Section 3.3.1.  As well drilling could be a significant source of exposure to the drilling crews, they should be educated on the risks associated with this occupational task.  This could be potentially tied in with the Notice of Completion application.

Section 3.3.3.  What about those that maintain the right-of-ways, such as mowers, trash removal, etc.?

Section 3.3.4.  Regarding firewood and/or Christmas tree harvesting, these tasks should be banned in forested areas identified by EPA to have LA in tree bark/duff.  Educational materials should be provided anywhere these types of permits are issued.

Section 4.4.  I think it is critical to keep realtors in the loop on any proposed LHRs.  At a minimum, they can provide practical feedback on LHRs.  They could also actively take part in carrying out the LHRs.  For example, the realtors in Missoula help in removing older model (non EPA certified) wood stoves from the Stagnation Zone when older homes are sold. The database system mentioned in Section 4.3 might be made available to realtors and other prospective property purchasers.


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