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Ascension St. Mary's Hospital, Saginaw, Michigan

In February, just before the rise in Michigan’s COVID-19 cases, PM Environmental, Inc. (PM) performed industrial hygiene services for Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan. PM completed a pre-renovation asbestos containing materials (ACM) survey of the Emergency Department (ED), and associated mechanical room ahead of the hospital’s planned extensive renovations. 

An ACM survey’s purpose is to identify, locate, classify, analyze, and estimate quantities of asbestos containing materials that must be removed or managed prior to renovation activities. PM performed a walk-through of the interior and exterior of the building and collected a total of 90 bulk samples of suspect ACM for analysis.

“Working in a Healthcare facility, especially the ED area, can always be challenging, as we have to be very conscientious of the doctors, nurses, staff and of course patients in this area,” said Jon Balsamo, National Manager – Industrial Hygiene Services at PM. “Our staff made sure to perform their work activities in a way that did not disrupt staff operations.”

The ACM survey’s conclusions and recommendations are based on the results of the building inspection, material sampling, and laboratory analyses. Samples containing greater than 1% asbestos are considered to be asbestos-containing materials (ACM) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The survey indicated the presence of ACM which required removal by a licensed abatement contractor prior to being disturbed as part of the renovations.

PM performed asbestos air monitoring and abatement clearance testing activities for the removal of asbestos containing floor tile mastic from the Emergency Department, Dialysis “Fast Track” Area. Abatement activities consisted of the removal of approximately 1,540 square feet of floor tile mastic. PM reviewed work practices and engineering controls and collected work area and personal samples during removal activities. 

After the ACM removal activities were completed, PM executed a post-abatement visual inspection of the work area. After successful visual inspection of the area, Phase Contrast Microscopy (PSM) clearance sampling was then collected inside the area where abatement occurred. Air sampling data obtained indicated that all ACM were abated in the area with results below the established Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) clearance criteria.

“We performed this work right before COVID-19 started hitting Michigan hard and shutdowns were enacted by the Governor and also, right before visitors were not allowed in most Healthcare facilities,” said Balsamo. “We were able to swiftly finish our part of this project, so that the renovation work could continue.”

The hospital has several more phases of renovations planned for later this year and into 2021.