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EPA Settles Alleged Asbestos Violations In Pittsburgh

Release Date: 10/23/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced
that it has settled alleged violations of federal asbestos regulations during a roofing project at Pittsburgh’s Calvary United Methodist Church located at 971 Beech Ave.

Under a consent agreement with EPA, renovation contractor Miller-Thomas-Gyekis, Inc. and asbestos removal contractor Gray Waste Management Corp. will pay a $13,750 penalty for alleged Clean Air Act violations during the removal of about 20,000 square feet of asbestos-containing roof panels and shingles at the church.

The alleged violations were identified during inspections by EPA, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, and Allegheny County Department of Health officials. The inspection documented improper removal and disposal of damaged asbestos roof shingles and other materials.

Following the inspection, Allegheny County issued Gray a temporary stop-work order, requiring safeguards to prevent asbestos violations. EPA, state, and county officials conducted further inspections to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

In its complaint filed in September 2000, EPA cited the two Pittsburgh-based companies for violating Clean Air Act regulations that apply to demolition and renovation projects involving asbestos-containing material. According to the complaint, workers did not keep the removed or stripped asbestos materials adequately wetted until disposal, and workers dropped suspected asbestos-containing materials from the roof.

Clean Air Act regulations require that asbestos-containing materials that may release asbestos fibers during demolition or renovation must be carefully handled to prevent emission of asbestos fibers. The rules also require that asbestos materials must remain adequately wetted, or be securely bagged or otherwise treated until disposal. Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant that was once heavily used in insulation, roof shingles and other building materials. Prolonged exposure and inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer and asbestosis, a serious respiratory disease.

In the settlement agreement, the companies neither admitted nor denied liability for the cited violations.