Skip to main content

Limited Asbestos Abatement Concluded at Gateway Center

April 21, 2023

The City of Albuquerque has received confirmation of asbestos abatement completion for areas of the Gateway Center, Phase 1 – Overnight Beds project. The Post-Abatement Air Clearance Report shows all samples well below the permissible exposure levels established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  The project area was identified as containing a limited amount of asbestos containing material (ACM) during demolition. The area is one of the first sections of the Gateway Center, a facility to connect people with the help they need on their pathway to housing.

This ACM abatement comes after the City became aware of asbestos concerns in the Phase 1 - Overnight Beds renovation. Fortunately, a construction inspection by the City Planning Department’s Building Safety Division revealed relatively early in the project that protocols had not been correctly followed.  The City selected a contractor in the spring of 2022 to renovate the Phase 1 – Overnight Beds space. The City should have identified the area as possibly having ACM and taken steps to safely remove of all ACM in the area. Additionally, notification of the presence or absence of ACM is required prior to renovation work, and this did not happen.

After an interim OSHA report was given to the City, a regulated area was immediately established, demarcated, and anyone who did not have a job duty requirement to enter the area was excluded. The City hired Southwest Abatement, Inc. to not only perform an examination of the area, but to completely remove any further ACM from the site out of an abundance of caution.

Now that the Phase 1 – Overnight Beds area has had all ACMs removed, work will continue and be completed as originally designed. The next areas of the facility to be renovated, Phase 1 – Respite and Phase 1 – Sobering, have been inspected for asbestos, and no ACMs were identified. Written notification to the Environmental Health Department of the absence of ACMs in the renovation area will be made prior to renovation. Out of the 20,000 square feet in Phase 1 construction, about 4,000 square feet necessitated ACM abatement. Additionally, training on the proper procedures for the handling of construction sites potentially containing ACMs is scheduled to occur for all project managers throughout the City.

“The City of Albuquerque takes the remediation of asbestos seriously, and we have concluded abatement in the areas of concern at the Gateway Center,” said John Craig, Director of the General Services Department. “The project manager for this project was issued a corrective Post Inspection Notification (PIN), all requested corrective actions have been taken, and the managers operating in the facility are receiving additional training related to construction when asbestos containing materials may be present.”

The City Environmental Health Department (EHD) conducted its­ first inspection on March 3, 2023 after late notification was given that a demolition had taken place without proper notification. Since the demolition began prior to performing and receiving any results based on a proper inspection, EHD issued a Post Inspection Notification (PIN) on March 10, 2023. A PIN notifies the owner or operator of potential violations. A PIN also allows owner or operator to submit any evidence that can support or demonstrate compliance. A final report by EHD will be issued on the week of April 24th with what is expected to be a Notice of Violation.