Chattanooga city to begin strategic cleanup of asbestos-ridden R.L. Stowe Mill site
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed asbestos at the site of the old R.L. Stowe yarn mill in Lupton City. The property has long been an eyesore and a major complaint for people living in that part of Chattanooga for years.
The former yarn mill was once at the center of a flourishing community. What's left behind now is deemed a brownfield because of contaminants in the soil. Lupton City, LLC. owned the property until it lapsed on its property taxes. The company then abandoned it without finishing removal.
In January 2017, Mayor Andy Berke pledged $1.5 million to begin cleanup in July 2017, when the city and Hamilton County became owners of the property through unpaid taxes. That did not happen right away.
Chattanooga Public Works spokeswoman Colline Miller says the city held a public meeting with the community on Monday. That's where they told the residents about the asbestos and the expectation of workers showing up at the site in the next month or two.
Right now, it's not clear exactly how much asbestos exists on the property. Miller says figuring that out is part of the city's new plan. When workers begin clearing the site there will be air monitoring at all times. According to Miller, the city is working with the Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau, the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation, and the EPA.
The main way to avoid asbestos contamination is to keep the materials wet. Miller says that's part of the initial plan as well.
If there is ever any threat to the public during the cleanup process, the city says they have contact information for residents in that direct area and will alert them as needed.
If you live near the old mill site and have concerns moving forward -- you can contact the Public Works Department by calling 423-643-6000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.