Residents concerned about demolition work in Bay View

MILWAUKEE -- One by one, houses along the Kinnickinnic River in Milwaukee are being demolished -- and that has some Bay View neighborhood residents concerned.

To date, nearly 40 houses have been torn down as the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District prepares to widen the KK River. By the end of the first phase of the MMSD's project, more than 80 houses will be demolished.

Before the MMSD can demolish the houses, workers have to strip the buildings of any asbestos. Many of the homes are more than 100 years old -- and filled with the toxic substance.

Sylvia Ortiz lives near some of the demolition. She's worried asbestos is floating in the air and into the nearby river.

"I know there`s a lot of children around here. I don`t want anyone to get sick," Ortiz said.

John Cook is with the Wisconsin Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (WisCOSH). Cook has sent samples from siding left on the building after abatement. It'll be tested for asbestos.

"When we walked up, they were dropping these panels from the roof and the wind was blowing the other direction, like it does usually through here, and it covered us," Cook said.

MMSD and its engineers say city inspectors and environmental inspectors have been out to check the property.

"We`ve been involved with the district on 38 homes and the procedure is really well established," Robert Paschel, consulting engineer said.

Neighbors say they want to see the ground and water tested to make sure it hasn't been contaminated. The project manager says if tests show there is still asbestos on the property, they will be back to make sure it's abated properly.

The DNR tells FOX6 News it will also be doing site tests starting Tuesday, December 4th.