The discovery of asbestos at the former Nike missile base in Commerce Township has delayed the process of razing structures at the site and increased the cost of demolishing the buildings, according to township officials.
The Commerce Township Board of Trustees in July authorized a $70,000 contract with RJ Hoffman Management of Waterford Township to raze structures at the Wise Road property. The township initially indicated the demolition would be done before the end of last month.
“We went out for bid and (selected) a contractor, but after he did some checking he found more asbestos, which will cost more to remove,” said township Supervisor Tom Zoner. “We only approved $70,000 (for the demolition), so it has to go back to the board. If they (board members) approve the additional costs, he can start work within a week.”
Environmental regulations require materials containing asbestos be removed and disposed in an approved landfill prior to demolishing a building, the township’s engineer, Jay James of KER Engineering, stated in a memo to the township board. One company had bid $14,200 to remove the asbestos debris, while additional bids are pending, according to the memo.
Zoner said the matter was expected to go before the township board at its meeting yesterday, Tuesday, Sept. 11.
The township authorized $72,500 in May for the demolition project, with about $20,000 of that amount coming from the township’s Parks and Recreation Fund. While that amount included an asbestos survey, it didn’t include the cost of removing any asbestos found, James stated in his memo.
He said the survey found that asbestos needs to be removed in three areas, including about 12,600 square feet of debris contained in a 9-foot-by 9-foot tiled floor under a carpet in one of the buildings; about 165 linear feet and 60 cubic feet of debris associated with aerocell pipe insulation; and about 650 square feet of debris from transite siding.
The township recently purchased a 201-acre parcel of state land on the south side of Wise Road as part of plan to obtain about 500 acres of the state-owned Proud Lake Recreation Area. The remaining buildings were part of the U.S. Army’s Nike missile base that was active there from 1955 to 1974.
The D-87 base housed Ajax and Hercules cruise missiles that could defend against air attacks. The launch area was demolished in 1994.