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Faulty Asbestos Removal at New Haven Property Results in Fine
Release Date: 02/05/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 5, 2009) – EPA and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut have reached a settlement with Anderson-Wilcox Corp. and Cutting Edge Concepts II LLC, for alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act due to improper removal and disposal of asbestos at a New Haven, Conn. property that underwent renovation in 2002. The settlement requires the companies to pay a fine of $300,000 for the violations.
The violations occurred in the spring and summer of 2002 during renovations at 116 Crown Street in New Haven. The property was a vacant, commercial property dating back to the late 1800's. Cutting Edge Concepts, the owner of the property, hired Anderson Wilcox, a construction company, who in turn retained a subcontractor to remove debris and perform construction/renovation work at the 19,500 square foot masonry structure.
Despite being aware of the likelihood that asbestos was present throughout the basement of the building, the two companies failed to conduct any bulk sampling of suspected material to confirm the presence of asbestos. Nor did they follow proper procedures for the safe removal and disposal of asbestos.
Instead, the companies instructed the subcontractor to remove suspected asbestos-containing materials and debris from the basement and dispose of them in standard trash dumpsters, potentially putting workers and the public at risk. The subcontractor was also directed to remove other building components, including a large amount of vinyl floor tiles from the upper floors that were believed to contain asbestos and to dispose of them in the same open-topped dumpsters located outside the building. The companies failed to ensure that these tiles and at least 20 bags of asbestos-containing pipe lagging from the basement were kept wet, as required by regulation to prevent asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.
State officials alerted EPA to the potential violations after receiving a tip. The activities were in violation of the federal Clean Air Act and the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for asbestos ("Asbestos NESHAP"). Specific violations included failure to: thoroughly inspect the facility prior to beginning a renovation; notify EPA or delegated state authority of the renovation; keep asbestos adequately wet during stripping; keep asbestos adequately wet before collection and containment for disposal; properly label containers as required; and deposit asbestos waste at a proper disposal site.
EPA’s asbestos regulations help protect workers and the public from inhaling airborne asbestos fibers. Breathing asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity. It is important for developers and construction companies to have trained inspectors perform thorough asbestos inspections prior to conducting renovation or demolition work to ensure that adequate measures are taken to protect the health of on-site workers and the general public.
- EPA’s asbestos web content (https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/)
- EPA’s enforcement of asbestos requirements in New England (http://epa.gov/ne/enforcement/asbestos/index.html)