This page has been written for people who suffered asbestos exposure at LILCO plants located in New York City and on Long Island. Many workers were exposed to asbestos at various LILCO plants and later developed asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Levy Konigsberg has decades of experience in representing power plant workers and has obtained the largest verdict in the United States against LILCO in a mesothelioma case – an award of $7 million in a single case.
HISTORY OF LILCO
The Long Island Power Authority (“LILCO”) formed in 1911. LILCO supplied power to Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as Queens—New York City’s easternmost borough. After World War II, Long Island was radically transformed, from a rural, agrarian expanse, to a sprawling suburban landscape. Affordable housing for returning GI’s, coupled with modern bridges and highways, attracted unprecedented numbers of people from New York City, to Long Island. The ensuing Baby Boom fueled a tremendous demand for electricity.
LILCO – Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant
To keep up with demand, LILCO constructed Shoreham, a billion-plus dollar nuclear power generating station, on Long Island Sound. Although the plant was completed, Shoreham, was never put into service. By the late 1970s, the No Nukes movement had taken root in the public’s conscience. The Three Mile Island incident, and movies like The China Syndrome, led to a deep suspicion of nuclear-generated power. By the time of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, Shoreham was on thin ice, and the plant was decommissioned shortly thereafter. However, during the construction of the Shoreham plant many workers were exposed to asbestos-containing materials.
Expansion of LILCO
At one point, LILCO provided power to countless businesses, and more than 2.7 New Yorkers. Accordingly, LILCO had tremendous electric generating capacity. LILCO facilities combined for a capability exceeding 3,690 megawatts. In order to pull off this level of generation, LILCO operated multiple steam-powered generation facilities to meet its base load. Additionally, dozens of peaking plants remained at-the-ready, to come online during times of high demand for electricity. Although LILCO’s steam powered plants accounted for roughly two-thirds of the megawatts generated, peaking plants were constructed on 11 sites across Long Island, between 1962 and 1975, including West Babylon, West Hampton, Holtsville, Glenwood, Shoreham, Wading River, and Southold. New peaking plants were constructed, as demands grew commensurate with Long Island’s population.
LILCO – E.W. Barrett Power Station
To meet demand for the massive post-war baseload, LILCO relied on three massive power plants. Taking advantage of the surrounding ocean, these plants were cooled by seawater. The first, E.W. Barrett, was commissioned in 1956. E.F. Barrett started life as a coal-burning, steam-driven facility, but was later retrofitted to run on both gas, and oil. The plant is situated in Island Park, on Barnum’s Channel, in western Nassau County, and is part of the Town of Hempstead. To keep up with ever-growing demand, a second 190 megawatt steam-driven unit was added in 1963. LILCO planned on adding more units, but Barnum Channel proved incapable of providing sufficient cooling water. So in the early 1970s, LILCO constructed 12 gas turbine-generators to produce an additional 305 megawatts of generating capability.
LILCO – Port Jefferson Station
In 1958, LILCO added the Post Jefferson station. The 64 acre plant sits on Port Jefferson Harbor’s southwest shore. Once again, LILCO relied on an initial 190 megawatt boiler, and once again, rising demand necessitated a second unit, in 1960. Two subsequent steam-electric boilers followed later. Although Port Jefferson was designed to burn coal, it too, was later converted for natural gas and fuel oil.
LILCO – Northport Power Station
The Northport station is massive. Consisting of 4 “units”, the plant occupies 250 acres on a deep water North Shore site. Northport is comprised of four 388 megawatt nominal turbine generator steam boilers. The four turbines came online over the ten year period, between 1967 and 1977. The boilers and turbines are several stories tall. The 4 large smoke stacks from the Northport can be seen from miles away.
Asbestos Exposure During the Construction of LILCO Power Plants
In constructing these plants, LILCO employed various contractors, including Treadwell Corp., T.C. O’Connor, and Robert Keasbey. Combustion Engineering manufactured, erected, and supplied LILCO with massive 8-10 story boilers. Contractors, including Robert Keasbey, insulated the boilers with massive quantities of asbestos-containing insulation. Insulators stood atop the boilers, spraying copious quantities of this deadly mixture throughout the plants. This resulted in horrendous overspray, requiring powerhouse workers to blow off excess insulation with compressed air.
Additionally, insulators cut and installed asbestos-containing block insulation on the boilers, precipitators, turbines, and miles of piping serving LILCO’s generating plants. Worse, the block insulation was held in place with asbestos-containing cement. Insulators mixed the powdered cement with water and trowels. This process not only caused immediate asbestos exposures, but ensured there would be a legacy of exposure for all the powerhouse workers who subsequently disturbed the insulation materials.
Because LILCO failed to isolate this dusty asbestos work from the other construction operations, these practices resulted in a perpetual mass of airborne, highly carcinogenic asbestos fibers swirling around LILCO’s plants. Tragically, countless workers were placed at elevated risks for developing catastrophic asbestos-related injuries, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, because asbestos was known to cause disease in humans, as far back as 1898. Throughout the early to mid-20th Century, numerous articles and reports were published regarding the hazards of asbestos. These publications were readily available to LILCO, its contractors, and the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.
LILCO even employed numerous physicians while constructing its powerhouses. LILCO was also a member of the National Safety Council from 1930 to 1984. As such, LILCO would have directly received extensive information about the dangers associated with asbestos. LILCO could have insisted that alternative materials were substituted in place of asbestos. Exhaust systems could have captured fibers. Sprayed water could have prevented asbestos dust from spreading throughout the plants. LILCO could have protected bystander workers by isolated them from those working with asbestos. LILCO could have coordinated the work of the various trades to assure that bystanders were not exposed to dangerous asbestos work. Some manufacturers failed to provide warnings about asbestos products used at LILCO plants. As a result of the dangerous conditions at LILCO, generations of powerhouse workers were needlessly exposed to deadly asbestos inside LILCO’s plants. Sometimes, powerhouse workers even exposed their families by bringing asbestos fibers home, on their clothing.
In 2014, Levy Konigsberg attorney Jerome Block won a 7 million dollar verdict on behalf of Ralph North a contract worker who developed mesothelioma after worked for years at the Northport Power Station many decades earlier. Mr. North was a welder and was exposed to asbestos because LILCO required him to perform his work in close proximity to asbestos insulation contractors that were creating asbestos dust. The jury found LILCO liable because it was negligent and exercised supervisory control over the dangerous work of contractors that exposed Mr. North to asbestos. For more information on this landmark verdict, click here.
Asbestos–related diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer, are devastating. Levy Konigsberg has been representing powerhouse workers for more than 30 years. The firm was founded with the mission of obtaining justice for hardworking families, affected by mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Levy Konigsberg is nationally recognized for its landmark verdicts on behalf of injured powerhouse workers.
If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or lung cancer, after working at a LILCO power plant, call Levy Konigsberg today, for a free consultation.
Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.
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