Asbestos in Detroit’s Old Packard Plant

The Old Packard Plant is contaminated with asbestos and other hazardous materials, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Free Press obtained the report from the DEQ under the Freedom of Information Act.

Asbestos is a carcinogen which is hazardous when friable. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tried in the late 1990s to demolish the plant for the city but was stopped by a court battle. The Michigan DEQ had a consultant survey the property for asbestos-containing materials.

At the time, the consultant found significant quantities of asbestos scattered next to insulated piping systems in bathrooms, storage rooms, bays, basements and tunnels. The consultant also found large quantities of asbestos debris in the basements of most buildings.

All that makes demolition a complicated, expensive and time-consuming project, said John Adamo Jr., an engineer and CEO of Adamo Group, a demolition, construction and environmental contractor in Detroit. According to Adamo, once the asbestos and other hazards are removed from the Packard Plant, demolition could take a year.

Asbestos abatement is performed commonly in older homes and historic structures. Asbestos abatement performed under strict conditions by a skilled contractor can be quite effective, thereby removing the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.