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Asbestos Justice Center

Asbestos at the Justice Center

This information is being provided for all interested parties including, but not limited to, current and former employees, volunteers, members of the public, and others who work/have worked at or have/had business at the Boulder County Justice Center at 6th and Canyon in Boulder.

Background

In October 2017, Boulder County learned of the presence of non-friable asbestos in building materials slated for deconstruction as part of an upcoming remodel at the Justice Center. Non-friable means the asbestos cannot be released into the air on its own; the block would need to be disturbed in some way (such as during a demolition project) in order for the asbestos-containing fibers to be released.

During required pre-construction testing of building materials in the area identified for the remodel, a third-party testing company found a low level of asbestos-containing material in the form of a block filler coating in the original cinder block walls in the identified construction space. (More information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions handout.)

We are using this website as a way to share with you everything we know and to continue to keep you updated as we learn more.

If there’s a question you would like to have answered or a particular area addressed, please send us your questions or feedback through our Asbestos Comment Form.

Asbestos abatement for planned construction at the Justice Center (early 2018)

Jan. 30, 2018, Update: DA’s Infill – Abatement

Asbestos abatement has started in the old DA’s area at the Justice Center. The contractor CHC (Colorado Hazard Control) has installed a containment barrier to isolate this portion of the building and is removing the asbestos block filler on the existing CMU (Concrete Masonry Units) with a high-pressure washer. You will hear some noise generated from this process as well as the sound of a compressor and fans running. Air monitoring outside the contained space is being carried out on a daily basis. The results have been well below the maximum threshold for particulates in the air, which indicates that the air quality outside the contained area is within safe standards. Abatement will continue for another 14 weeks.

Dec. 20, 2017, Update: DA’s Infill – Abatement

Boulder County has awarded an asbestos abatement contract to Colorado Hazard Control Inc. to manage asbestos abatement for planned construction work at the Justice Center. The project provides more office space for District Attorney staff. CTL Thompson has been hired as our third party abatement Project Manager. They will provide oversight of the abatement work and conduct third-party air monitoring while the work is being performed. Colorado Hazard Control will be staging equipment and erecting some scaffolding in the courtyard area the week of Dec. 26.

Other remodels
Work on bringing Canyon Café electrical, plumbing and accessibility up to current codes and standards will begin Dec. 26 and end around Jan. 15. The area where the work will occur has tested negative for asbestos-containing material. This particular area of the building was constructed at a later timeframe than the original structure and the concrete block walls did not contain the same block filler material as the original block walls.

Recent third party testing of cinder blocks slated for demolition in preparation for an upcoming remodeling project at the Justice Center discovered the presence of low levels of non-friable asbestos in coatings originally used as a sealer on the cinder blocks. Non-friable means the asbestos cannot be released into the air on its own; the block would need to be pulverized (such as during a demolition project) in order for the asbestos-containing fibers to be released.

Although a low-level asbestos-containing substance (3 percent chrysotile) was detected in the original block filler coating, due to the nature of the substance and because the block is overlaid with multiple coats of paint, the presence of the asbestos does not pose an asbestos-related health hazard when left undisturbed. (i.e., as a block filler material encapsulated by paint, it does not produce an airborne form of asbestos.) Air tests at the Justice Center were performed by an outside engineering firm after the asbestos-containing material was discovered. The results show that the indoor air at the Justice Center is within or below Colorado Maximum Allowable Asbestos Levels (copy of air sample test results). This means the building is safe to occupy.

While we can’t turn back the clock and test block materials that were removed as part of construction projects in the past, we are committed to undertaking additional testing and analysis of cinder blocks in other locations at the Justice Center to determine what, if any, potentially hazardous conditions may have existed in the past when construction projects were underway. We are also continuing to work with our consultants on an additional ventilation system test. Results of this test will be shared on this webpage as we receive them.

In response to interest from current and former employees seeking more information and the opportunity to ask questions about the human health impacts of asbestos, Boulder County held two informational sessions with independent experts (Nov. 15 and 17, in the Jury Assembly Room at the Justice Center). The presenters and Q&A facilitators included Michael Van Dyke, Ph.D., an industrial hygienist with the Colorado Department of Public Health, and Dr. Annyce Mayer, an occupational health physician from National Jewish Health (View their Presentation Handouts).

About the speakers

Dr. Michael Van Dyke is the Chief of the Environmental Epidemiology, Occupational Health, and Toxicology Section at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist. Dr. Van Dyke has spent the last 15 years working in public and occupational health focusing on exposure assessment, environmental and occupational epidemiology, and risk communication. He addressed concerns about potential exposure risks.

Dr. Annyce Mayer is an Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, National Jewish Health. Dr. Annyce Mayer has a clinical practice focused on lung disease related to occupational and environmental exposures in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Medical Surveillance Clinics at National Jewish Health.

Current or former employees working in the building who are concerned about human health impacts are encouraged to contact their Worker’s Compensation providers or consult with a private physician. Worker’s Compensation is available to any current or past employee at the Justice Center.

As we continue to work with the outside experts we have hired to advise us on asbestos-related matters, we will publish information on this webpage as soon as we know more. There are also some excellent reference materials on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s asbestos website.

We are actively seeking to remediate the situation so that potential exposure to asbestos during any disturbance of building materials is avoided. To this end, we will be working with our consultants to help us create a plan to ensure proper management of all work that impacts affected block walls in the future. The county’s Building Services Division also will work with our construction management firm, Milander White, to ensure that the upcoming construction project safely removes and disposes of the coating on the cinder block walls under a carefully managed asbestos abatement plan.

We also are consulting with healthcare experts to better understand the possible health impacts associated with any potential exposure to this material that may have happened in the past. The good news is that at the levels we encountered in our testing, the likelihood of human health impacts appears to be very low. Nonetheless, we are working with our Worker’s Compensation provider clinics to be able to offer healthcare testing for current or former county employees who are concerned about asbestos exposure.

If you are a Boulder County employee and feel you may have been subject to asbestos exposure, please contact:

Peak Form Medical Clinic (695 S. Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305; 303-402-9283) to schedule a medical assessment. Please note, you do not need to fill out a Worker’s Compensation claim form in order to schedule this medical assessment.

State employees may contact any of the following representatives to assist with filing a first report of injury with the state worker’s compensation provider.

Trial Court:
Erika Skufca at 303-441-4921 or erika.skufca@judicial.state.co.us

Probation:
Tracey Sogi, Human Resource Representative at 720-217-2069 or tracey.sogi@judicial.state.co.us

Janice McMullin, Risk Manager for Colorado Judicial Branch at 720-625-5909 or janice.mcmullin@judicial.state.co.us

If you decide to seek medical attention and want your claim to be covered by workers’ compensation, state employees will need to go to one of the following workers’ compensation providers listed in the table below.:

Boulder Designated ProvidersLongmont Designated Providers
Concentra Medical Centers. Clinic: 3434 47th St., Suite 100. Urgent Care: 3300 28th Street Boulder, CO 80301 Phone: 303-541-9090U.S. HealthWorks 1860 Industrial Circle Longmont, CO 80501 Phone: 303-682-2473
Workwell Occupational Medicine 3434 47th Street, #100, Boulder, CO 80301 Phone: 303-219-5022Careplus Medical Center 1551 Professional Lane, #140, Longmont, CO 80501 Phone: 303-776-2001
U.S. HealthWorks, 1690 30th Street, Boulder, CO 80301 Phone: 303-443-0496Workwell Occupational Medicine, 205 S. Main Street, #C Longmont, CO 80501 Phone: 303-702-1612
Concentra Medical Centers 3300 28th Street, Boulder, CO 80301 Phone: 303-541-9090Longmont Clinic, 1925 W. Mountain View Avenue Longmont, CO 80501 Phone: 303-776-1234
Foothills Hospital ER, 4747 Arapahoe Boulder, CO 80303 Phone: 303-415-7000Longmont United Hospital ER, 1950 West Mountain Avenue Longmont, CO 80501 Phone: 303-651-5111

Lastly, please remember that the county’s Employee Assistance Program is available to all current county employees. If you are interested in seeking counseling or emotional support after learning this news, the internal EAP website (InBC link) has detailed information, or you can just call 1-877-622-4327 to set up an appointment.

State employees can contact CSEAP (Colorado State Employee Assistance Program) at 1-800-821-8154 or 303-866-4314

Contact Us

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Downtown Historic Courthouse
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Boulder, CO 80302
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PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306