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Asbestos concerns spur closure of former military training camp

After discovering "isolated surface deposits" of asbestos on the grounds of a former military training camp, the United States Forest Service has reportedly closed portions of the camp to visitors. It is not known how long it will take to clean up the asbestos contamination.

The asbestos was found in Camp Hale, a Colorado facility that housed trained nearly 20,000 U.S. soldiers, known as the 10th Mountain Division, for World War II. The camp was deactivated as a military training facility in 1965. The following year, it was transferred to the U.S. Forest Service, at which time the training camp was broken down.

Forest Service officials believe that the asbestos contamination was most likely caused by the breakdown of camp buildings. The asbestos was reportedly found in the former locations of warehouses and other camp facilities.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been tasked with the asbestos cleanup duties, and there is no set timeline for when that task will be completed. In the meantime, the Forest Service has closed several parts of the camp in order to protect visitors from possible asbestos exposure.

In the meantime, there does not appear to be any major risk of asbestos in the air or in drinking water. Initial Army Corps air monitoring reportedly found no airborne asbestos fibers, although workers continue to test the air to conclusively determine whether such a risk exists. Similarly, the local sanitation department said that there is a system in place for treating and removing any asbestos from the water.

Source: Vail Daily, "Cleanup planned after asbestos found," Lauren Glendenning, Oct. 12, 2012

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