Cleanup set for asbestos at site of former Indiana brewery

December 8, 2022 GMT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Work to remove asbestos contamination from a former northern Indiana brewery will begin next year through a collaboration between the federal government and the city of South Bend.

City officials announced Wednesday that South Bend will work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remove asbestos and debris from the 14.7-acre former site of Drewrys Brewery, which ceased operations in 1972.

Below the surface, officials said there are at least 14,000 tons of debris contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen, WSBT-TV reported.

Officials said the cleanup will begin in January along with the installation of a permanent fence along a portion of the property. The EPA will begin removing asbestos from the site’s remaining buildings and asbestos-containing demolition debris in spring or summer 2023.

The property’s previous owner demolished structures without properly remediating for asbestos, and that forces the cleanup effort to treat all of the material as asbestos-containing, officials said.

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The debris does not pose an imminent threat to the surrounding neighbors, said Caleb Bauer, South Bend’s director of Community Investment.

The EPA is sharing the cost of the cleanup, for which the city had budgeted $3 million, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Mayor James Mueller said ensuring the site is cleaned up and secure is the “first step” toward someday reusing and redeveloping the property. The city took ownership of the site this year.