Environmental engineers monitor hazardous materials in the air and water near McClung demolition site

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It takes a team to tear down a building as old, as large, and as dangerous as the McClung warehouses.

That includes a group checking the dust in the air, the hazardous material, and the safety of those on site.

"We love these projects," said Helen Hennon, an engineer at Quantum Environmental and Engineering Services.

"I have a brick collection from all the cool buildings we've demolished."

The city's contract for the demolition job included $15,000 for environmental impact monitoring, which now falls to Hennon and her team.

"The things that the city is trying to guard against is any infiltration into the storm water system, any kind of improper disposal," Hennon lists. Engineers are keeping a close eye on asbestos, a common material found in buildings that old.

The excavator employed to crunch away at the building is equipped with a hose, connected to fire hydrants and supervised by engineers, that sprays the dust and any hazardous material floating through the debris. The engineers also protect storm water entry points and keep tabs on air quality.

However, the biggest danger near the site is not environmental, but structural. Hennon emphasized a point already made by others: the building could fall, and poses a threat to anyone too close.

Those living nearby, like Laura Dailey, are getting adjusted to the work and upcoming scenery change.

"Jackson Avenue has been closed off, [and] I work down the street so I've had to walk around to go to work, but it's not a big deal," she said. "I'm gonna miss the colorful sign, but other than that [I'm] pretty sure people will be glad it's gone."

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