Editor’s note, 6/2, 8:09 p.m.: This article has been updated with information from the project’s developer, Joe Forgione of JMF Properties.
Visitors to Maplewood Village might have noticed a bit of a lull recently in the demolition at the site of the former Post Office. According to Mayor Vic DeLuca, work was temporarily halted when the crew discovered asbestos in the glue underneath the former building’s floor tiles.
DeLuca told The Village Green in an email Wednesday that he received a call from the project’s developer, JMF Properties, last Friday that the crew had ceased work when they discovered the asbestos.
“JMF contacted the state for an asbestos remediation permit and hired the firm that is at the site now,” said DeLuca. “Although asbestos removal is handled by the state, I asked our construction official, Len Mendola, to go to the site to check on JMF’s clean-up plans. He was satisfied that JMF is following all protocols with regard to the removal of the asbestos. The remediation work has been going on this week and demolition will resume once that is completed.”
Joe Forgione, principal of JMF Properties, told The Village Green in a phone interview Thursday that when demo began, his company sent the tile out to be tested and it came back clean, or asbestos-free. The glue was attached to the tile.
“When we started demo we saw that the glue was thicker and [we] wanted to be safe and had it tested and it came back” positive for asbestos. “If we didn’t test the glue and it was trucked to a facility we would have had a major problem,” Forgione said. “Thank goodness we took the safe route.”
The remediation has delayed the project by roughly a week, Forgione said, and the work should be completed within the next day or two. He expects demolition to continue by Wednesday of next week.
In February, some residents expressed concern over JMF’s removal of windows with caulk containing asbestos; however, the township confirmed JMF was following proper protocols and that the township’s Building Official was monitoring the removal.
DeLuca said the township will include details of the current remediation status when it issues a construction update this Friday.