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Release Date: 2/12/1999
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

ZELIENOPLE, Pa. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Vesuvius USA Corp. and two individuals will pay a $30,250 total penalty for alleged violations of federal asbestos regulations.  EPA alleged that the parties failed to submit advance notification of asbestos removal, and did not keep asbestos wet after removal, as required by law.  The alleged violations occurred  during an October 1997 renovation project at Vesuvius’ ceramics products plant in Zelienople, Butler Co., Pa.

In its July 23, 1998 administrative complaint, EPA cited the Illinois-based Vesuvius and asbestos removal contractors David Kowalski of Freedom, Pa. (doing business as Industrial Business Brokers) and subcontractor Timothy Lawrence of Beaver Falls, Pa. (d/b/a T.L. Lawrence Construction Co.) for improper removal of approximately 20,000 square feet of asbestos-containing transite wall and roof panels at the plant.

In the settlement, Vesuvius and Mr. Kowalski each agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty within 30 days, and Mr. Lawrence will pay $10,250 (including interest) within 180 days.  

Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant that was once heavily used in insulation and other building materials.  Prolonged exposure and inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer and asbestosis, a serious respiratory disease.

To reduce the risk of asbestos emissions, EPA’s regulations require that asbestos-containing materials that may release asbestos fibers during demolition or renovation must be adequately wetted during removal, and carefully handled to prevent unnecessary damage.  These materials must remain adequately wetted, or be securely bagged or otherwise treated to minimize asbestos emissions until disposal.  

For more information on asbestos demolition and renovation requirements, please contact EPA Region III’s Asbestos Enforcement Section, 215/814-2111.