New round of testing begins at Bozeman asbestos clean up site


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Following up on a story we first brought you earlier this week

A viewer who reached out to NBC Montana to find out what was happening with an asbestos cleanup project in East Bozeman now says they've seen significant improvement at the site.

Workers started pulling up the concrete sidewalk next to the Heebs Market the first week of June. It runs from the alley behind the market North to the parking lot on the West side of the street.

The project was supposed to wrap up July third but two weeks later it's still all dug up.

Viewer Seth Ward says he had a tough time finding out who to bring his concerns about the project to.

NBC Montana met with Ward and city officials to learn what work has been done and what's next.

Ward lives just down the street from the city of Bozeman's asbestos clean-up project. He saw workers back at day after we looked into why it had stalled.

"Looked like they were doing another round of testing or excavating or doing some of that but at the end of it, the whole thing was covered up properly," said Ward.

Ward had been watching the project from his nearby home. He became concerned after seeing standing water and exposed dirt. He started to make phone calls and shared photos of the site with NBC Montana on Wednesday.

"A lot of confusion, at least from the phone calls I was making over who was in charge and what was being done," revealed Ward.

But by late Thursday afternoon most of the water was gone and the site was completely covered.

Contractors were reinforcing sidewalls and collecting a new sample of the area, results of which should come back to the city within a few days.

Brit Fontenot, Director of Economic Development and Community Relations for the City of Bozeman, explained, "At that point if they're clean we start back filling the hole and putting the sidewall cap on." He says the project stalled because test keep coming back positive for asbestos.

"There's only one pit of the four that continues to come back to a positive read for a miniscule amount of asbestos," said Fontenot.

But the site has to be completely clean and up to Department of Environmental Quality standards if the city wants to get reimbursed for a majority of the project's cost.

Seth Ward supports the city's efforts but says he'd like to see more attention to community involvement and alerts. Ward told us, "Lacking that information and feedback, we didn't have anyway to distinguish what were the safe parts and were not the safe parts."

Brit Fontenot says Ward's concerns are legitimate and that the city will work to better inform the public in the future.

Fontenot went on to say that any resident with any question related to issues like Bozeman city projects can reach out to Neighborhood Coordinator Allyson Brekke with the Planning Department.

Allyson Brekke's number is (406) 582-2260.