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Asbestos Exposures at the Danskammer Generating Station

Nestled on the shores of the Hudson River, the Danskammer Generating Station in Newburgh, New York has been in operation for over 80 years. Danskammer was constructed by the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company throughout the 1930s, with the goal of increasing power supply to Rockland County and surrounding areas. The plant is now owned and operated by Helios Power Capital, LLC. In 2013, plans were announced to dismantle and salvage the Danskammer facility, but with last-minute federal approval, Danskammer was refurbished, with a conversion from coal to natural gas. With the conversion, Danskammer continues to provide power to Central Hudson’s grid.

Power generation at Danskammer required heavy-duty equipment. Machinery at Danskammer included coal-fired generating units, water pumps rated at 21,000 gallons per minute, and cooling towers. Other equipment, like boilers, furnaces and gas turbines supported these heavy-duty products. After construction, Danskammer began expanding its “canal operations,” incorporating large pumps, pipes, transferring equipment and other machines, to expand Danskammer’s output on the canal. Additionally, because Danskammer operated all year round, auxiliary equipment was installed, so that urgent upgrades and repairs would not prevent Danskammer from producing energy. When “offline,” the main and auxiliary machines were maintained and repaired by workers.

Operations at Danskammer could only be completed with the use of supporting equipment. Products like pumps, valves, air compressors and motors were installed in various parts of the facilities. This equipment powered the large machinery and supported the running of Danskammer’s operations. Other products, like wire and cable, electrical boxes, and various circuitry controlled this equipment. Much of this equipment contained asbestos. The pumps and valves required asbestos gaskets and packing to operate properly. Cable and wire was regularly insulated internally and externally with asbestos. Electrical equipment featured various asbestos components, including phenolic resins in the fuse and breaker boxes.

Danskammer employees completed general maintenance of this equipment. At times, large repair jobs, overhauls and installation of new equipment required the use of skilled independent contractors. On any given day, a Danskammer employee was required to open the valves, pumps and air compressors to scrape out worn asbestos gaskets. Turbines and boilers often had a layer of heavy asbestos to remove before the product could be opened. Asbestos containing electrical equipment required detailed work, and disturbing the asbestos components for proper repair. The daily work of Danskammer employees exposed workers to vast amounts of asbestos dust. Without warning, employees at this plant regularly installed and removed asbestos components, unaware of the dangers posed by inhalation of airborne dust.

Attorneys at Levy Konigsberg have decades of experience in identifying the various manufacturers of products used at power generating stations. Based on our decades of representing families who’s loved one has suffered an asbestos-related disease, we are aware of how and where asbestos components were used in various pieces of heavy equipment.

If you or a loved one worked at the Danskammer Generating Station and have developed an asbestos-related disease, call today for a free consultation.

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