Exclusive: Asbestos Found At NJ Hospital Site
RIVERSIDE, NJ (CBS) — What used to be the old Zurbrugg Hospital in Riverside, NJ is now a pile of rubble. And now the State Division of Criminal Justice says preliminary reports indicate industrial products containing asbestos were found during a search by hazardous materials crews last week.
The products were found in bags, some in a closed container and some buried underground. The state also says asbestos was found in loose material in a remaining structure that was the boiler room.
”Is my house safe, what about my health?” wonders Kathy Jacobs, whose property backs up to the site. She and other neighbors say they complained to local officials about conditions there for months. They were concerned last week when the state’s criminal investigation began, but they were more concerned on Tuesday with the asbestos findings.
”We shouldn’t have been breathing that stuff in,” said Etta Losito, referring to the demolition that started back in September.
The state says Riverside officials are not responsible for monitoring the asbestos removal but must have the proper paperwork in a permit file that shows asbestos was removed and properly disposed of. Officials do have that paperwork, but the town’s redevelopment attorney says he can’t vouch for the completeness of the reports.
”They washed their hands of it from the beginning,” says Jacobs, who believes township officials should have looked more closely at what was happening at the site.
The demolition company’s local office is closed. The site owner and developer, the Teicher Organization, is responsible for the remediation and will be monitored by the NJ Department of Health and Environmental Protection, as well as Division of Criminal Justice.
Residents who have concerns about their health can call the State’s Consumer Environmental and Occupational Health Line at 609-826-4920. No charges have been filed.
Reported by Robin Rieger, CBS 3