Junk clean-up costs escalate

As workers finish their second week cleaning up a residential property on Henni Road, they realized there is more junk on the land than anticipated.

To deal with the extra junk, the county has to spend more money to finish the job.

During their Wednesday staff session, the Island County Commissioners authorized an additional $7,900 to remove hazardous materials and tires that remain on the 3.9 acre property.

Clean-up crews found that the house contained more asbestos than originally thought. The material is found in the floor tile. They also found an asbestos-insulated pipe and an organized pile of asbestos-laden tiles on the property, said Code Enforcement Officer Matt Kukuk.

He said the house went through an asbestos abatement process last summer which missed some of the material because of the mounds of trash dumped inside the house.

The workers had to stop while the hazardous material was properly removed. However, the asbestos seemed to be undamaged.

“They’ve done a really careful job cleaning the property,” Kukuk said.

Asbestos was once commonly used as an insulator and also found in such items as floor tile. However, it was also found that breathing in asbestos particles can lead to a variety of conditions including a lung affliction known as asbestosis and a form of lung cancer called mesothelioma.

The contractor for the cleanup, Three Kings Environmental, estimated that there were approximately 200 tires on the property. However, when workers started digging in the ground, they realized the number was closer to 900, Kukuk said.

During the staff session, Planning Director Phil Bakke said it was unlikely any more surprises would be found.

“I don’t know how they could find anything more on Henni Road. They’ve been on every square inch of the property,” Bakke said.

The county originally confiscated the Henni Road property in 2000 because it violated the residential junkyard ordinance.

People used the property as a dumping ground for trash and vehicles.

The county is paying Three Kings Environmental more than $95,000 to clean the Henni Road property, a five-acre parcel on Hollydale Road and the 33-acre Taylor property on Highway 20 near Cornet Bay Road.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at

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