Asbestos remediation project could be key to removing ACM from community: Diabo

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A new pilot project along Highway 207 using a ‘combing’ technique could provide the key to getting rid of the asbestos-containing material (ACM) left in the community, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Chief responsible for the dossier said in an interview this week.

The pilot project, to be run in a field near the Crazy Horse store on Highway 207, will entail using a machine with comb-like attachments that sift through the top part of the soil and remove the pieces of crushed pipes that were made with asbestos-containing materials from the soil, like a rake or comb. The pilot project is expected to begin later this month.

Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Chief Cody Diabo said the ‘combing’ technique can theoretically get deep enough into the ground to take out all the crushed pipes while keeping the soil intact, which is better for the land and for the environment, he said.

The technique, he explained, is an alternative to complete dredging of soil and complete removal of any terrain that had ACM pieces in it.

“It’s a bit of a pilot project to see if it will be feasible throughout the community. What we’ve found is that the soil gets really, really damaged when we just up and remove the soil completely, so we think this might be a way to ensure the least amount of damage possible to the soil, while at the same time getting rid of the ACM pieces,” he said.

The project should go into the early part of fall, so when it’s complete, the MCK will make a decision on whether or not to pursue the project on a community-wide level in the spring and summer of 2023.

“Obviously if it’s successful, we will consider using it all across the community next year. That way everything would be proposed and ready and we could feasibly get started then.

Tuesday’s MCK meeting had the item on the agenda as ‘asbestos remediation.’

Diabo said the move is “a bit of a compromise. We wanted to get ride of the ACM pieces in the least invasive way possible, but we found we were getting rid of really good soil and that this issue needed more exploration.”

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase