pe-asbestos-removal-300

Workers have already sealed off some areas inside the school that contain asbestos. (CBC)

Asbestos in the old Montague High School building has prompted special precautions to be taken as demolition work begins.

The province has confirmed asbestos in floor tiles, wall plaster and pipe insulation in sections of the school built in the 1960s.

Actual removal of the asbestos will begin in a week or 10 days. But first the contractor must get approval of its work plan from the province, detailing exactly how it intends to get the job done.

The province has hired an environmental company to ensure the contractor adheres to all safety guidelines.

Workers have already sealed off some areas inside the school that contain asbestos.

Once the Worker's Compensation Board and the province give approval, crews will remove materials containing asbestos, bag it, and truck it away to certified disposal sites.

Tyler Richardson, manager of building design and construction for the province, said officials will also be closely monitoring the situation.        

"There are very stringent protocols for removing asbestos.  Of course asbestos is not dangerous unless you disturb it. So we know of the protocols. We have to set up containment areas where the asbestos is located. We actually create zones where we make areas and put them under negative pressure with filtering systems and everybody has to have proper attire on, respirators etcetera," he said.

"We are very much aware that protocols have to be followed, given the fact that we have residents and the school operating close by."

The demolition site is located next to the intermediate school.

Despite close monitoring, some residents feel uneasy about the work being done in the centre of town.

"I think it's dangerous for the junior high right beside it, for the kids who come outside at lunchtime or at break time," said April MacDonald.

The province says the only disruption to the nearby school or residents may be some excessive noise.

But that's common in any demolition project, not just those involving asbestos.

Inspectors can order the work stopped if they find problems.

The contract to do the demolition work was awarded to the lowest bidder, A & L Concrete Forming Limited of Halifax.

Richardson hopes the $340,000 demolition project will be complete by Dec. 20.