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Tests find no asbestos near steam pipe rupture, some streets reopen today

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Some streets around a ruptured steam pipe in downtown St. Louis are open again today after final test results for no risk from asbestos.

As we reported earlier this morning, the first 14 swabs from the north wall and balconies of the Lucas Lofts building and from the ground along Lucas Avenue came back negative for asbestos last night. City health director Pamela Walker tweeted around 10:15 am that the final 10 samples taken from the south wall of the Globe building were also negative.

Walker says air monitors that were installed in the Lucas Lofts building following the rupture also detected no asbestos.

"We're going to leave those there for a couple of days, just to see, but we feel confident it didn't get inside," Walker said. "If you weren't standing outside on your balcony when it actually descended, which would have been in the first 10 to 20 minutes, the risk of exposure is just nothing."

Walker says Trigen Energy, the company that manages the steam system, told her the cleaning will cost "several hundred thousand dollars." She says a conversation about who will cover those costs is ongoing, because the city owns the system itself.

The 20-inch pipe runs under 11th St. near its intersection with Convention Plaza. Lucas Ave. has reopened to traffic, but 11th will remain closed until Trigen finishes studying the rupture and repairs the pipe.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.