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Report: Air quality fine near bridge

Published August 20. 2014 10:35AM

An air quality report during sandblasting work at the covered bridge in Lower Towamensing Township showed that samples collected are within the acceptable limits.

Eagle Industrial Hygiene Associates Inc. of Horseham collected air samples on Aug. 6 and 7 while Jupiter PCC Inc. of Croydon, a subcontractor for the project, completed active abrasive blasting paint removal operations on the steel parts of the bridge. The air quality report indicates "effective lead dust control."

The air samples collected looked at total suspended particulate in the air. Baseline samples were collected around the bridge on June 30, Aug. 1, and Aug. 4, prior to sandblasting work beginning. Collections continued throughout the abrasive blasting work on Aug. 6 and 7, the report states.

Commissioner William O'Gurek said Michael Tirpak of Carbon Engineering reported to the commissioners that "results of the air sampling showed the level of contaminants is well below the adjusted daily allowance for lead emissions."

Colleen Connelly, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman, also said Tuesday afternoon that the department has not received any complaints about hazardous materials being used at the bridge.

The results come one day after area residents voiced their concerns to the Times News regarding potential health risks at the site after three warning signs were placed and removed.

T Coen, who lives near the bridge, said that the signs were concerning and she and her neighbors feared for their health.

"My neighbors and I still don't know whether it's safe to eat the vegetables from our gardens or drink the water from our wells," Coen said Tuesday.

The project at the covered bridge, located in the Little Gap section of the township, began late last month and is expected to be completed in the beginning of November.

In June, the Carbon County Commissioners hired Professional Construction Contractors Inc. of Bethlehem, which submitted the lowest bid of $291,126. Work includes replacing the steel deck and sandblasting the remaining steel on the bridge and repainting it, as well as repairing any worn wooden arches and studs.

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