Thursday, October 1st, 2009.
Precision Demolition and Abatement, LLC., (Precision) an asbestos abatement and demolition contractor in Boise, Idaho has agreed to pay a $36,000 penalty to settle with EPA for alleged violations of the asbestos National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (asbestos NESHAP), under the Clean Air Act.
In October 2008, EPA conducted an asbestos compliance inspection of a renovation site located at 4806 Emerald Street in Boise, Idaho. The result of the inspections found several violations of the asbestos NESHAP. The violations included failure to:
- Inform EPA of the dates when renovation work would take place at the building site;
- Keep asbestos adequately wet;
- Carefully lower asbestos to the floor;
- Prevent visible emissions to the outside air;
- Mark the waste disposal vehicle with specific warning signs during loading of asbestos waste; and
- Post proof of training for an on-site supervisor.
According to Edward Kowalski, Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, the intent of the regulations is to protect the public and prevent the release of asbestos fibers during renovations and demolitions.
“We hope that building owners, developers and contractors learn from this situation,” said EPA’s Kowalski. “When you are tearing down or renovating a structure that has asbestos, it is important to notify the proper authorities and follow the asbestos regulations.”
Federal regulations require a thorough inspection of a facility for the presence of asbestos prior to any demolition or renovation activity, as well as advance notice to EPA or the state or local agency that administers the asbestos NESHAP program. If a threshold amount of asbestos is found, contractors are required to remove and dispose of the material according to certain requirements such as using water to wet the asbestos during removal, carefully handling, bagging and labeling of wastes, and properly disposing of them at permitted landfills.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber which was commonly used in building materials prior to the 1980s due to its fire resistant properties. Exposure to asbestos can lead to respiratory diseases including asbestosis and lung cancer. Owners and operators of a demolition or renovation activity are legally required to remove, handle and dispose of asbestos according to federal regulations.
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