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Patrick Springer, Published August 20 2010

Asbestos problem for Cass building

First the foundation beneath the old Cass County Courthouse had a water problem.

Now it has an asbestos problem, and the asbestos problem must be solved in order to solve the water problem.

The Cass County Commission will have a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning to discuss the presence of asbestos wrapping old, abandoned pipes beneath the oldest part of the courthouse.

The asbestos in a crawlspace is an issue because people need to go underneath the building to perform further tests to see if water has caused voids in the dirt, exposing timber piles.

Asbestos, a health hazard, must be removed before that can happen, County Auditor Mike Montplaisir said Thursday.

So commissioners will consider letting bids for asbestos removal, work expected to cost more than $100,000, he said.

The water problem beneath the old courthouse recently was discovered following excavation for the new west addition, now under construction. The water, unrelated to the project, probably came from downspout runoff.

The concern is the water has exposed timber piles to air and moisture, which would allow them to rot, weakening stability of the foundation or walls.

The solution, according to engineers, is to fill the voids with a grout similar to concrete slurry.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522