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Administrative Law Judge Upholds Penalty Against Contractor for Asbestos Violations at WVA Coliseum
Release Date: 7/8/2003
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
PHILADELPHIA – An administrative law judge has upheld EPA’s proposed penalty against USA Remediation Services, Inc. for improper asbestos removal during the renovation of the West Virginia University Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va. four years ago.
In a recent decision, Chief Administrative Law Judge Susan L. Biro ruled that EPA had proven that the company violated federal regulations for asbestos removal during renovation of the coliseum. Judge Biro also upheld EPA’s $14,500 proposed penalty assessed for these violations.
In her June 26, 2003 decision, Judge Biro found that EPA’s evidence and testimony established that the some 6,000 square feet of asbestos-containing plaster was not adequately wetted during removal and disposal. Judge Biro’s complete decision is available at https://www.epa.gov/aljhomep/orders/usa-id.pdf. The company has the right to appeal this decision to EPA’s environmental appeals board.
The federal Clean Air Act requires that construction materials that may release asbestos fibers during demolition or renovation must be adequately wet during removal and remain wet until securely bagged for disposal.
In a May 23, 2002 complaint, EPA cited the WVU Board of Governors, WVU’s contractor, USA Remediation Services Inc., and subcontractor Keystone Abatement Services, Inc., for failing to adequately wet regulated asbestos-containing material during removal and disposal. According to the complaint, an EPA inspector on June 28, 2000 discovered dry asbestos-containing ceiling plaster scattered about a second floor hallway area at the coliseum. EPA proposed a total $35,000 penalty against the three parties for the alleged violations.
In a June 2002 consent agreement, EPA settled its claims against the WVU Board of Governors and Keystone Abatement, with WVU paying a $10,500 penalty, and Keystone paying a $10,000 penalty. USA Remediation exercised its right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and its liability for the remaining $14,500 balance of EPA’s proposed penalty. The hearing was held in Washington, D.C. on March 4, 2003.
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. For more information on asbestos, regulations, and safe work practices, visit EPA’s asbestos homepage at www.epa.gov/asbestos/index.htm.