Test results are back on the remains of the rubble that was the pink hotel building in Smith River and experts have found measurable amounts of asbestos and lead.
Tests were done in recent weeks by GHD in Eureka, which conducts lead surveys and asbestos testing.
Code Enforcement Officer Dominic Mello said test results showed the material to have both lead and asbestos but it was no surprise considering the age of the building. Most older buildings contain asbestos, which can be found in some modern building supplies as well, he noted.
However, the presence of asbestos and lead requires specially licensed contractors to do the cleanup work, typically at a higher cost.
Mello said the Environmental Protection Agency outlines the protocols for cleaning up asbestos-laden materials.
He said lead and asbestos were found in a few areas that will likely be easy to isolate and remove, such as a chimney flue, some roofing on an adjacent building and in some joint compounds in the rubble.
As far as posing a threat to the public, Mello said there is essentially none, as the material is not being disturbed in such a way that particles could become airborne.
Should a licensed contractor remove the debris, methods such as water and vacuum sealing will be used to keep dust from blowing from the site.
In August, County Hearing Officer William B. Cater declared the property a public nuisance, triggering an abatement process for the building.
“At this point code enforcement is working with administration to follow through on the hearing officer’s decision to clean up and abate the property,” Mello said.
Until further notice, the property will remain as it is and no scheduled date for cleanup has been established.
Mello noted in a typical abatement, the county will seek to recover costs through a lien process.
Mello said he spoke to Saffan Panahi, the hotel’s owner, in August, but has not been able to communicate with him since.
Reach Tony Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org .