UPDATE: Asbestos found at Chattanooga Public Library ceilings - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Asbestos found at Chattanooga Public Library ceilings

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: All services at one Chattanooga landmark will continue despite asbestos being found in the ceilings. Contractors discovered the problem while working on the lighting at the Chattanooga Public Library. The asbestos has to be removed before the improvement projects can continue.

The asbestos found at the Chattanooga Public Library is minimal, but the director says she isn't taking any chances.

The discovery of asbestos on three floors of the Chattanooga Public Library was no surprise to employees. “Go to any building across the country that is this age and you'll find that product,” said the library’s Executive Director Corinne Hill.

Crews working on lighting fixtures discovered the problem.“It was less than 0.001 but the rule is, the law is it has to be at zero percent.”

The library was undergoing a lighting upgrade project, worth 1.5 million dollars in taxpayer dollars. Ten percent of that was set aside for asbestos removal. “If you find it, it has to go. You have to contain it.”

David Bashor an asbestos expert said with no direct exposure, the health risk is minimal. “Unless you went every day and sat under a place that was being damaged every day. There is no exposure level there,” said Bashor.

Exposure occurs when materials containing asbestos are damaged or disturbed, releasing particles into the air. “Not intended for asbestos. Proper filtration, even what got released over time would be scrubbed out of the air.”

Floors will be worked on one level at a time while the asbestos is removed, but all services will remain available to the public. “We will move the children's department to the 4th floor. Kids will still have a place to go. We are not going to say this service is no longer available,” said Hill.

Corinne Hill said this is a safety issue but there are no safety concerns. “Never been any danger of any kind. Simply part of an improvement project.”

The city is in the process of taking bids for the asbestos removal. It's not clear yet, if additional funds will be needed to cover the removal in addition to the lighting upgrade.

The project is expected to be completed in September 2017. 

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