Since 1915, The Colonel Francis G. Ward Pumping Station has pumped Buffalo, New York’s drinking water from Lake Erie. When constructed, it was originally the largest pumping station in the United States, and, today, it remains one of the largest and most well-equipped water treatment and pumping stations in the world. Originally, five gigantic steam-driven pumping engines pulled water from the Roundhouse Intake, which is located over a mile offshore at the mouth of the Niagara River. Each engine weighed over one thousand tons and stood over six stories tall. At the Colonel Francis G. Ward Pumping Station, large boilers produced steam to turn the pumping engines and heat the building. In the late 1930’s, the pumps were replaced by smaller, more powerful electric pumps. Until 1975, the steam pumps were maintained for service and used as a backup. Prior to the mid to late 1970’s, the boilers and associated steam and water pipes were covered with asbestos-containing insulation and pipe covering. Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
When asbestos-containing pipe covering was handled or disturbed, it released asbestos fibers into the air and into the breathing zone of workers. Due to wear and tear, it was common for asbestos-containing materials to be removed and reapplied. Once worn pipe covering was removed, reapplication of asbestos insulation was necessary so that the pipes could effectively contain steam. When asbestos-containing insulation was applied, it was cut with a band saw and the cement, used on pipe elbows, was mixed with water. Both processes emitted large amounts of asbestos-containing dust. Most workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust, and performed their work without masks or protective gear.
Asbestos-containing block insulation was used to insulate the boilers. Similar to pipe covering, handling and cutting asbestos block insulation caused asbestos fibers to become airborne. Once airborne, asbestos dust can spread over a large area and remain suspended for quite some time. Inhaling these fibers put the employees of Colonel Francis G. Ward Pumping Station at great risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
In the process of representing workers and their families, we have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at the Colonel Francis G. Ward Pumping Station and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us for a free case evaluation.