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Asbestos Exposures Suffered at Orange and Rockland’s Lovett Power Plant – Tompkins Cove, New York

The Lovett Power Plant was located in Tompkins Cove, New York. It was constructed by Orange and Rockland Utilities, and commissioned in 1955. At one time, the Lovett plant, which sat on 17 acres of land, could produce up to 380 megawatts of energy. Featuring several oil-fired boilers, the plant saw major renovations in the late-1980s. Hatzel & Buehler was hired in 1986 to convert the plant’s equipment to run on coal. Contractors, including Foster Wheeler and Allen Sherman-Hoff, assisted in these major renovations. In 1999, Orange and Rockland Utilities sold the plant to Mirant. In 2007, the State of New York ordered the plant closed.

Between the 1950s and 2000s, asbestos exposure was rampant at Orange and Rockland’s Lovett plant. For decades, employees and independent contractors were instructed to install various asbestos products throughout the plant, including gaskets, packing, insulation, raw fiber, asbestos spray, block, cement and rope. While these activities occurred for years, Orange and Rockland Utilities failed to implement a plan to remove worn asbestos materials. When the dangers of asbestos exposure were made public, Orange and Rockland Utilities continued to ignore Lovett’s major asbestos issues.

In 1986, when Hatzel & Buehler was hired to perform substantial renovation work at Lovett, the contractor learned that Orange and Rockland Utilities had failed to abate decades worth of asbestos materials. At the time, Hatzel & Buehler discovered that asbestos was being removed from machinery in violation of OSHA standards, possibly exposing hundreds of employees and independent contractors to vast amounts of asbestos. The 1986 exposures were so significant that all of the independent contractors terminated their contracts, due to Orange and Rockland Utilities’ mishandling of asbestos material.

Later, in 2001, a boiler exploded at the Lovett plant. While injuries were minimal, Tompkins Cove officials refused to dismiss children from school. Due to Lovett’s close proximity to homes and schools, officials feared that the vast amounts of asbestos still present in 2001 posed a risk to the health of the children. Before Rockland and Orange Utilities had sold the plant, they had failed to abate or encapsulate the asbestos materials installed decades earlier. After taking control of the plant, Mirant also failed to address the asbestos that officials feared was being spread throughout Tompkins cove.

Many workers at the Lovett power plant were regularly exposed to asbestos. Between the 1950s and 1980s, much of the equipment (including large machinery manufactured by Foster-Wheeler) used at the Lovett plant contained various asbestos components, including asbestos gaskets, packing and mechanical seals. Equipment including pumps, valves, boilers, turbines, generators and air compressors were regularly overhauled and repaired. This required employees to remove and replace asbestos materials. Later, in the 1990s and early 2000s, asbestos continued to be a problem, since the plant failed to abate these materials.

While Lovett’s asbestos issues continued into the 2000s, a link between exposure to dust and lung disease was developed in the 1930s. Many companies whose products were used at the Lovett power had knowledge that their products posed serious hazards to power plant workers. For decades, the attorneys at Levy Konigsberg have held these corporations accountable for their negligence and failure to properly warn power plant workers of the serious dangers associated with the use of their products.

If you or a loved one has developed a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma or lung cancer, and worked at Orange and Rockland’s Lovett power plant, please call today for a free consultation.

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