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Asbestos Exposures at Greenidge Generation Plant, Dresden, New York

The Greenidge Generation Plant is located in the Village of Dresden, on New York’s Seneca Lake. Constructed in 1937 by the New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Greenidge featured four coal-fired power-generating units. The plant regularly expanded its operations and generating capabilities, with additional power units installed in 1942, 1950 and 1953. From its inception, through to the late-1980s, Greenidge ran on this original equipment, which included several General Electric turbines. Today, the plant is owned by Applied Energy Services (“AES”), and has converted its operations to biomass fueling.

Power generation operations at the Greenidge Generation plant required the use of several pieces of high-temperature equipment. Housed in different areas, Greenidge featured a boiler room and turbine room, each with their own dedicated staff, as well as a general power plant. Additionally, the site featured a pump house located near the edge of Seneca Lake, where various multi-purpose pumps moved water back and forth, from Seneca Lake to Greenidge’s boilers. Equipment including generators, transformers, tanks, condensers and motors, were installed throughout various areas of Greenidge to support the boilers and turbines.

Much of the equipment installed at Greenidge was heavily insulated with asbestos. During emergency repairs and scheduled maintenance, Greenidge employees and independent contractors removed layers of asbestos from the equipment, so that the individual machines could be opened up. To ensure that the machinery operated properly, workers would perform maintenance, which included removing and replacing asbestos gaskets and packing. Used to prevent leaks, and create necessary seals, fresh gaskets were critical to keep power-generating activities uninterrupted. Often using a putty knife and wire wheels, workers would scrape worn asbestos gaskets from these machines, and then install fresh gaskets, exposing themselves to vast amounts of asbestos dust.

In 2008, a study completed by the New York State Department of Health discovered elevated levels of respiratory disease for individuals living in close proximity to the Greenidge Generation plant. Residents of surrounding areas were found to experience incidents of respiratory illness at levels 41% higher than New York residents far-removed from the Greenidge plant. The attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are experienced in investigating non-occupational environmental exposures that occur near industrial worksites, like the Greenidge Generation plant. Previously litigated cases have shown a correlation between residing near an industrial worksite and the development of an asbestos-related disease.

The companies that manufactured the products and machinery used at the Greenidge Generation plant were aware of the dangers associated with exposure to airborne dust. Over many decades, scientific advances continued to show a link between exposure to dust and lung disease. Many of these companies, aware of these findings and the dangers posed by their products, took precautions to protect their own workers while failing to warn consumers. Choosing profit over worker safety, the dangers of asbestos exposure were hidden from Greenidge Generation plant employees, and workers across the country.

The attorneys at Levy Konigsberg have a proud history of holding these companies accountable for their negligent actions. If you or a loved one worked at or lived near the Greenidge Generation plant in Dresden, New York and have developed an asbestos-related disease, please call today for a free consultation.

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