KINGMAN - There may be more asbestos in the old Mohave County Sheriff's Office than previously thought. The Mohave County Public Works Department asked the Board of Supervisors Monday to approve up to $150,000 in additional funding for asbestos abatement in the historic building. The department may not use all of the funding and will bring a final change order for a complete amount before the Board for approval.
The idea behind Monday's agenda item was to prevent delays in the demolition work and possible additional costs due to the delays, said County Public Works Director Mike Hendrix.
Earlier this year the county contracted a firm to test for asbestos in the building before the demolition began, he said. The firm was able to establish that there was at least 30,000 square feet of the hazardous material in the building.
In July, Breinholt Contracting, Co. was hired to remove the asbestos and demolish the building.
As the company started to work, an additional 18,000 square feet of asbestos was found, Hendrix said. The building was built around 1900 and has been remodeled and added onto a number of times since. As the demolition started, workers found more asbestos behind hidden walls, under floors and in ceilings.
According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, asbestos was used in a variety of building materials between the 1920s and the 1970s in the U.S. The fibrous, naturally occurring rock makes an excellent fireproofing and insulating material. It was used in cement, floor and ceiling tiles, wrapped in big sheets around pipes and even mixed with drywall.
Most builders and construction material makers halted use of asbestos in their products in the 1980s after scientists found that the material could cause lung cancer and a number of other lung aliments.
The asbestos contained in building materials usually isn't a problem until the material is disturbed, such as when a building is renovated or demolished. At that point the fragile fibers break into millions of tiny pieces that can become lodged in a person's lung, causing health problems.