Work on deconstructing the former Olds High School building will begin later this week, with the work expected to be completed by the beginning of May.
The Municipal Planning Commission approved the permit for the work at its Feb. 17 meeting.
Chris Landry, general manager of demolition in Alberta for Quantum Murray Remediation Services, the firm that will be doing the work, said last week that the company was beginning to take the approximately 60 tonnes of asbestos out of the building. He said that process itself is expected to take about a month.
Once the asbestos is removed by Quantum Murray, Golber Associates will monitor the air quality to ensure the building is safe to deconstruct with an excavator.
“We're going to salvage the concrete and the cement block inside the school. We're going to recycle the metal and we might have a company that will come and take the hardwood from the gymnasiums. We're going to salvage as much as we can on the site,” Landry said, adding that street traffic won't be affected by the deconstruction.
The asbestos was in the drywall compound, tile, pipe insulation and elbows.
When an area is being decontaminated, it is closed off from the rest of the building and negative pressure is applied inside the room, much like a vacuum, where nothing can get out of the room. There are also filters inside the room so that nothing will escape.
“The guys inside the room are wearing the Tyvex suits, they're wearing . .. the full face masks and the workers are totally protected,” he said, noting that when they are done, they take the suits off inside the room.
Once the asbestos is double-bagged and removed from the site it will be going to an approved landfill site in Coronation.
Don Reid, chief administrative officer for the Mountain View Regional Waste Management Commission, said he recommended against disposing of the asbestos in the county landfill. He said to accept the material, a large part of the landfill would have to be dug up to store the material and he recommended against it. He also strongly recommended that as much other material as possible be recycled. He said all the companies that showed interest in the job were quite interested in recycling.
“If they do it the way they say they're going to do it, there's going to be a lot of material saved. I commend them for the process,” he said.
Landry said the asbestos is not harmful until it is disturbed inside the contained area, then it is disposed of.
“Before we get our air clearance, they seal the room with …glue. And that will lock or kill every particle that might have been left behind and then it's safe for anybody to come in,” he said.
Prior to starting the work, Quantum Murray was ploughing snow from the site and disconnecting all utilities.
Sandy Bexon, communications coordinator with Chinook's Edge School Division, said the division wouldn't be commenting on the process until after the contract for the work was approved by Alberta Infrastructure. That is expected to be done sometime this week.