COLORADO SPRINGS — Tuesday will mark three weeks since a King Soopers on the Southeast side of Colorado Springs decided to close because of asbestos concerns. On Friday, state health officials confirmed with News5 asbestos was found in the store, specifically in the tile adhesive on the floor.
News5 has also reached out to King Soopers several times. A spokesperson said they do not have any updates to share and will provide information as it becomes available.
However, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also confirmed a month before the store shut down, they received an application from a contractor to remove asbestos-containing floor adhesive called "mastic" from part of the store.
Mastic is a tile adhesive used up until 1988 but was banned because of asbestos. According to the El Paso County Assessor's website, the building where the King Soopers building is, was built in 1980.
According to CDPHE, when the contractor began the abatement project in early June, a store employee raised concerns other flooring might have contained asbestos, too. That flooring had already been removed the month before by a general contractor.
The Health Department sent an asbestos consultant to collect samples of the adhesive which did test positive for asbestos. Air samples were also tested but did not detect asbestos.
An OSHA complaint also shows an investigation began on June 16 for asbestos. On June 19, the state required that part of the store be restricted. The next day, King Soopers shut the store down.
Employees also say an automated message sent to them by King Soopers says planning is underway to clean the store which must be reviewed and approved by the state health department.
Part of the message: “As previously shared, we are still working to determine the possible existence of asbestos. As part of the remodeling project, asbestos testing was done before starting the renovation. The testing revealed asbestos-containing floor material in the pickup and pharmacy area, which was removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor. Though the investigation is still ongoing, initial findings indicate there was a layer of mastic beneath the flooring and other areas of the store where flooring and mastic were recently removed in our non-abatement protocols. Because it’s believed after testing, there was no asbestos present in those areas. It is now believed that a layer of mastic contained asbestos. We do not currently have final reports concerning this more recent sampling and the investigation of a non-abatement of flooring removal… Out of an abundance of caution, planning is currently underway to develop a thorough cleaning as a store that will be executed to ensure all associates and customers feel safe returning to the store. This plan will be reviewed, approved, and permitted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the work will be completed by a Colorado certified general abatement contractor under the oversight of a certified asbestos consulting firm. We're moving as quickly as we can to address your concerns and to reopen the store.”
In the automated message, a spokesperson for King Soopers said they are working quickly to get answers, and will share more information as it becomes available, adding they understand employees feel a degree of uncertainty.
News5 also reached out to Kroger, the company that owns King Soopers, and has not heard back.
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