Neighbors may see results after FOX6 story on KK River demolition

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MILWAUKEE -- Neighbors on Milwaukee's south side thought they ongoing asbestos removal project on their street could be harming their health. They spoke out, and now, they could be getting some results.

Near the KK River in the Lincoln Village Neighborhood, houses are being demolished as part of a major project to expand the river. Several of those houses are upwards of 100 years old and filled with asbestos.

FOX6 News first spoke with neighbor Sylvia Ortiz on Monday, December 3rd. She said she was concerned about homes being demolished in her neighborhood and not being properly stripped of asbestos. 

Ortiz shot video which she says shows workers dropping asbestos filled siding from the second story of a building onto the ground below. 

Ortiz told FOX6 News since FOX6 aired the story, she has received a letter from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

"We want you to know that the district is increasing its environmental monitoring of all asbestos abatement projects in your neighborhood," the letter said.

Mark Davis with the Wisconsin DNR took a look at the video Ortiz shot.

"The DNR asbestos program does not tolerate that on MMSD projects or on any other sites," Davis said.

Davis says the siding seen dropped in the video should have been removed as intact pieces and carefully lowered to the ground.

"Where you have edges breaking, you can have asbestos fibers being released. You don't want asbestos getting into the air," Davis said.

Davis visited the KK River Project site and found at least one home nearby scheduled for demolition that had not been abated properly of its asbestos. He also discovered the proper paperwork had not been filled out with the DNR for three properties, two already demolished and one about to be torn down. 

"They were getting ready to wreck it, and we stopped them before they started," Davis said.

The senior project manager says the subcontractor is being fined for not filing the proper paperwork, and they're considering a fine against the other company seen in the video.

David Folwer says he credits neighbors for speaking up.

"I think we relied on experts we hired to do this abatement a little too much. Here was an issue they discovered and we were able to remedy it and moving forward, we won't let it happen again," Folwer said.

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