Havre’s Dangerous Problem

The City of Havre is dealing with a serious problem. The fire station and police station have tested positive for egregious amounts of surface asbestos and lead.

Havre Council member Josh Miller addressed the problem at the most recent City Council Meeting. He stated, according to the report the air came back negative, but the surface levels were egregious. For example, Josh Miller said that one north side supply duct registered at 38000 for lead. The legal limit is 10.

City Council member Josh Miller then said, serious remediation involving tenting things off and tearing apart surfaces cannot be done immediately because of the cold weather. However, wiping surfaces with a certain chemical will be one of the first stages of remediation and can be done in any weather condition.

He then addressed the concern of lack of transparency regarding informing past and present employees about the conditions and potentially harmful health effects. He said he made it clear that his door is always open for communication. He said, “some people say they feel like the city is gambling with their health.” He concluded by saying that he is doing his job, and all that he can by bringing the concerns to council.

Mayor Doug Kaecher at the end of the meeting said, “I’ll take a minute to address the concern with the hazardous material that’s in the building. We know no more than what we knew in October when the hygienist was at the safety committee. He is supposed to be getting us names of contractors and what their timelines would be, we have yet to hear any of that.” He continued, “I have instructed all department heads on what to do if they have an employee that is concerned or feels that their health has been compromised. They are to actually file workers comp claims so it can be tracked without us having the ability to see what it is. So that’s the process for employees if they feel they have a health concern because of this issue.”

He concluded with stating that getting through the remediation process would probably take several years.

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