In order to support the War of 1812, the Watervliet Arsenal, an arsenal of the United States Army, was established in 1813 in Watervliet, New York. In 1887, the arsenal became America’s “Cannon Factory,” because it was the U.S. Army’s first large caliber cannon manufacturer. Adjacent to the Hudson River, the arsenal occupies 143 acres of land and includes 72 buildings with 2.1 million square feet of manufacturing space. In addition to its manufacturing facilities, Watervliet also houses administrative offices, storage areas, a historic weaponry museum, and the Army’s Benét Laboratories, which is a facility involved with product development, improvement, research and testing. The Watervliet Arsenal is the nation’s oldest active arsenal, and it became a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Currently, it continues to manufacture gun tubes for cannons, cannon components, mortar and other weaponry. Watervliet is currently the only domestic manufacturer for U.S. Army large-caliber breeches and gun tubes.

Prior to the late 1970’s, asbestos-containing materials were utilized during construction and maintenance procedures at Watervliet Arsenal.  Pipe covering, block insulation, asbestos rope, gaskets, packing and insulating cement contained asbestos. Laborers and contractors who worked at Watervliet Arsenal were at risk for asbestos exposure. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

Steam heat was utilized in order to heat the buildings and to operate production equipment at Watervliet Arsenal. In order to maintain a steady internal temperature in the heating system, boilers, pipes and valves were insulated with asbestos-containing materials, such as pipe covering, insulating cement and block insulation.  Asbestos-containing pipe covering was utilized as an insulation material that lined the outside of steam pipes throughout the Arsenal. Asbestos block insulation and insulating cement covered boilers. Asbestos-containing packing material and gaskets were contained within pipes, valves and pumps in the steam system. Gaskets ensured a tight seal between flanges, and packing material prevented leaks from valve stems and pump shafts. During maintenance and repair procedures, workers removed worn pipe covering or block insulation; scraped gaskets from flanges; and pulled packing material from pumps and valves. These processes emitted clouds of asbestos-containing dust or fibers into the air. Many workers were not aware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos dust and carried on their work without masks or protective gear.

Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at Watervliet Arsenal and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us for a free case evaluation.