The rubble at The Breakers demolition site on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach was found to contain asbestos-contaminated material after the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control intervened in the asbestos abatement of the buildings being demolished.
Exposure to asbestos can cause several types of cancer, but the asbestos-contaminated material in the rubble had been stored outside and uncontained until media reports in November began questioning whether the pile was safe, at which point workers began watering down the pile to prevent dust from blowing around Ocean Boulevard, according to DHEC.
Due to some material in the rubble pile testing positive for asbestos, “all of the construction debris was treated as asbestos-contaminated material and was handled and disposed of by a licensed abatement contractor,” said DHEC spokesperson Chris Delcamp.
Back in June, private contractors had tested seven samples of joint compound from The Breakers’ Tower and the registration building next door. The workers reported finding no asbestos in the 14 samples.
The registration building was demolished, but in November, workers removing drywall from the tower before demolition found more material that they believed might contain asbestos. Subsequent testing confirmed their belief, and DHEC was called in to examine the site.
DHEC testing in November found asbestos-contaminated material in the tower that hadn’t been discovered during the first round of testing, and in the rubble where the registration building once stood. That rubble pile also held material removed from the tower before additional testing showed that there was asbestos in the building.
There’s still some asbestos-contaminated material left in the tower. Since the elevators are no longer working, Delcamp said that licensed asbestos workers will bag the material and lower it into a lined disposal container on the ground.
Richard Eason of Environmental Service Group, which oversaw the initial asbestos abatement project, did not immediately return request for comment.