The Milliken Power Station was a coal-fired power plant located on Cayuga Lake in the town of Lansing, New York. The station, operated by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), was built in the mid-1950’s and was responsible for supplying electricity to a significant portion of Central New York. In 1999, the station was placed under new ownership and renamed “AES Cayuga.” In April 2011, AES Corporation shut down the Cayuga station.
Laborers who once worked at NYSEG’s Milliken Station have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Those employed at Milliken were routinely exposed to materials that contained asbestos. Asbestos insulation lined steam pipes, boilers, pumps, turbine generators and other equipment throughout the facility.
In order to produce power, Milliken Station was dependent on the use of coal-fired boilers and turbines. The boilers and turbines located throughout Milliken were once covered in asbestos-containing thermal block insulation. Laborers at Milliken regularly came into contact with not only block insulation, but also asbestos-containing cement, pipe covering, gaskets and packing materials. As a result of their exposure to asbestos-containing materials, numerous NYSEG workers developed and died of mesothelioma and other debilitating respiratory conditions.
Aside from its power-generating boilers and turbines, the Milliken facility contained a system of steam pipes and pumps, which required regular and frequent maintenance. Pump operators were responsible for replacing asbestos-containing gaskets within the flanges of Milliken’s pipe systems. Asbestos gaskets were used because of their ability to withstand high temperatures. Depending on the condition of the gasket in need of replacement, a pump operator typically scraped and pried the gasket from its flange. This process caused asbestos dust to become airborne, and it was also released into the working area of employees who did not have direct contact with asbestos-containing materials.
Roughly once a year, the Milliken facility went into a maintenance period called a “shutdown.” This shutdown lasted for approximately five to twelve weeks, and workers performed maintenance work on boilers, turbines, pumps and pipes. Insulation contractors, or journeymen, removed worn asbestos insulation from steam pipes and flat surfaces by sawing or by using tools such as claw hammers. When the worn insulation was removed, new asbestos insulation was applied to pipes, boilers, turbines and other equipment. Removing and installing asbestos insulation created large clouds of asbestos-containing dust, which workers inhaled without knowing the health risks.
Our attorneys have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos containing products to which our clients were exposed. If you or a loved one once worked at a NYSEG facility and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, please contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.