NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - The EPA already found asbestos in a park near an industrial area on Dixie Road. Now they are searching for how many other places in North Little Rock are affected, including the Redwood Early Childhood Center.
Phyllis Wilson’s grandson goes to the school. “I worry about him being exposed to it. Anything happening to him with it, I worry about that.” Wilson is also worried about her own exposure to the carcinogenic mineral. She grew up playing in the asbestos contaminated park every day.
EPA officials say they've known this area could be contaminated with asbestos for at least a decade but they won't say why it's taken so long to test and remove affected soil.
"no - I don't have an answer for that eight to nine year period," said EPA on-site coordinator Mike McAteer when asked.
Out of 600 samples taken so far, there are three hot spots. Conley Park in NLR, the old processing plant across the street and two homes south of the plant. McAteer says there's still a lot more testing to do.
Unfortunately, not now. They EPA can't test the ground in the neighborhood near the park until the soil dries up. It's too waterlogged to drive testing truck on and drill for undisturbed soil.
It's a lose-lose situation. If the ground dries up, its easier for the asbestos to become airborne. But until that happens all the EPA can do is put the drill away and hope for a drier January.
It will take about one week to process and test the dirt samples taken at the Redwood Early Childhood Center. The EPA will return next month to collect more soil samples from the neighborhood.