DHEC Says Asbestos Present in Contaminated Debris Pile

After testing debris found outside the Holiday South, a hotel soon to be demolished, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) determined there to be small amounts of asbestos in the pile. Since the concentration of asbestos cannot be accurately measured, the entire pile is considered contaminated.

The origin of the debris is unclear; according to Mark Kruea, the spokesperson for Myrtle Beach, the debris is possibly from a nearby demolition that was done in January, or it could simply be from inside the Holiday South.

Another possibility is that the debris is being illegally dumped, which is what Bruce Barnes, a man currently living next to the pile, alleges he has seen happen. “There’s been people dumping stuff in here,” Barnes says. “We’ve seen a pickup truck or two come and throw stuff on the pile.”

The asbestos found in the debris pile of indeterminable origin raised some questions about the likelihood of the hazardous material also being present in the hotel. Before the demolition can occur, the DHEC will be doing an asbestos inspection of the hotel itself.

Kruea assured that the necessary steps would be taken to protect the public. “We can’t issue a demolition permit until the state has done an asbestos inspection, the asbestos has been removed, and we get the certificate saying there’s no asbestos in the building,” he said.

The reason such strict laws exist regarding asbestos is because of the extremely harmful properties of the now-banned substance. If a person is exposed to asbestos and inhales airborne fibers, the individual is at risk of developing a range of respiratory health problems, including mesothelioma.

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