Environmental testing at the site of a proposed Lexington neighborhood has confirmed there is asbestos in old water pipes that were left by Kentucky American Water, the previous owner of the property on Squires Road.
The asbestos, though, is not currently a hazard to human health, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.
"Because the site is fenced off and we know of no activity on the property, we see no threat to human health or the environment at this time," said John Mura, a spokesman for the cabinet.
Environmental officials went to the site last week to do testing on the property after learning about the possible asbestos contamination from media reports.
The issue of asbestos on the property was first raised when the Fayette County Public Schools declined to buy approximately 20 acres in the center of the 90-acre site for a new middle school. The school system backed out after a report from an environmental consultant cautioned that it could cost more than $1 million to remediate the site because of asbestos in water pipes that were stored on the property by Kentucky American.
The Herald-Leader obtained those environmental reports through an open records request.
The asbestos issue was not raised publicly when Ball Homes, which has since purchased the 90-acre property from Kentucky American, was granted a zone change to put homes, apartments and townhouses there.
Ball Homes has since proposed putting up to 77 homes on the 20 acres the school opted not to buy. If the request is approved, there could be as many as 240 lots for single-family homes, 238 apartments and 31 townhouses on the property, one of the larger tracts of vacant land in the urban portion of Fayette County.
Ball Homes officials have said the company will hire environmental consultants to remove any asbestos prior to development.
Neighbors of the proposed Peninsula development have previously said they are upset that more has not been done to deal with the asbestos on the site and want more assurances that its removal will be monitored by a government agency.
Mura said officials with the state and Kentucky American Water met Friday to discuss remediation. He said the cabinet has also requested to speak with Ball Homes officials.