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Alaska DNR and Contractor Violate Asbestos Standards

Release Date: 7/15/1998
Contact Information: Lauri Hennessey
(206) 553-1138

July 15, 1998 - - - - - - - - - - - 98 - 38


   The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)has filed an administrative complaint seeking $220,000 in penalties from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Carpenter Contracting Inc. for violation of asbestos air emissions standards.  The violations occurred after DNR’s demolition of an abandoned school house in Eagle Village.

"The contractor hired by DNR clearly didn’t follow EPA’s regulations for removing and disposing of asbestos at the site," said Adan Schwartz, EPA Assistant Regional Counsel.  "The contractor knocked down buildings at the site, and burned the materials. The remains were smoldering on the ground when the inspector arrived, and the asbestos debris was scattered among the burn piles and around the site."

    Schwartz also said that if DNR had done a more complete initial inspection of the site, they would have been able to identify additional asbestos before the demolition.

   Asbestos is a known carcinogen.  The laws regulating asbestos are designed to keep asbestos fibers out of the air people breathe.

    "The contractor -- and DNR -- should have been a lot more cautious," Schwartz said.  "Given the information available to us at this time, there appears to have been a rather blatant disregard for the regulations, at least by the contractor, resulting in a real risk of exposure to the surrounding community and the workers at the site."