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Contractor Settles Alleged Asbestos Violations During Work in Moundsville, W.Va. Public Housing
Release Date: 10/1/2003
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543
PHILADELPHIA – The owner of Huffner Contracting has settled alleged Clean Air Act violations relating to the June 2001 removal of asbestos-containing floor tiles at a Moundsville, W.Va., public housing apartment complex, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
Wheeling-based contractor Earl P. Huffner will pay a penalty of $9,973, plus interest, to settle allegations of improper removal of asbestos-containing floor tiles. These violations occurred during renovations at 25 residential units at the Housing Authority’s Dorsey Street/Burly Court apartment complex.
EPA’s June 2003 complaint cited Huffner Contracting, the Housing Authority of the City of Moundsville, and subcontractor Carpeting Unlimited Inc. for violating rules governing demolition and renovation projects involving asbestos-containing materials. EPA’s alleged that these parties failed to conduct an initial asbestos survey, failed to notify EPA of the asbestos renovation project, failed to adequately wet the asbestos floor tile during removal and disposal, and failed to ensure that the renovation project was supervised by an employee who was trained in safe asbestos removal and handling practices.
These violations were documented in a July 18, 2001 inspection by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and July 19, 2001 followup EPA inspection. The WVDEP inspector and apartment residents observed that workers broke the tile into pieces without adequately wetting the material.
According to EPA, the improper asbestos involved over 1000 square feet of asbestos tile in at least three apartment units. As a result of EPA’s and WVDEP’s enforcement actions, the contaminated apartments were cleaned and the remaining 7,500 square feet of asbestos tile were properly removed and handled.
As part of the settlement, Huffner Contracting neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations. This settlement does not resolve EPA’s case against the Moundsville Housing Authority and subcontractor Carpeting Unlimited, Inc.
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 https://www.epa.gov/opptintr/asbestos/index.html.