Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hotel owner settles for asbestos violations

Materials containing asbestos need to be disposed of properly.
Image by Michelle Meiklejohn/
BBA Winchester LLC, the owner of a former hotel located in Winchester, Idaho has settled with EPA and agreed to pay a $21,000 fine for asbestos safety and environmental violations from improper demolition of the hotel.

“This is an unfortunate example that when asbestos is not properly removed before demolition, the entire debris pile becomes contaminated, putting people at risk, and greatly increasing disposal costs,” said Scott Downey, Manager of the Air and Hazardous Waste Compliance Unit at the EPA Seattle office.

“Because this owner failed to check for asbestos before demolition, their $2,000 demolition project ballooned into a $55,000 asbestos waste cleanup and disposal problem.”

In response to public complaints, EPA inspected the demolition site of the former hotel in 2012. BBA Winchester LLC demolished the 100-year-old hotel in late 2011 or early 2012, without first inspecting the building for asbestos, removing asbestos materials, or notifying EPA, as required by law.

Unsecured debris prompts health concerns

The demolition was in a residential neighborhood and the contaminated debris was unsecured for more than a year, prompting community concerns about asbestos health risks.

EPA inspectors collected samples from the site that showed the demolition debris contained regulated asbestos waste. After confirming the debris was contaminated, EPA worked with BBA Winchester LLC to clean up the contaminated debris and ensure proper disposal.

Follow-up testing after the cleanup showed that the soil and remaining concrete and glass did not contain asbestos and could be disposed of as normal demolition debris.

Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant regulated by EPA to protect public health. Building owners and contractors are required to check for asbestos and then remove it before demolition to protect workers and the public from exposure to asbestos fibers.

When inhaled, asbestos fibers can lodge in a person’s lungs and lead to respiratory illness including lung cancer, mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, and asbestosis, a serious progressive lung disease.

More information about asbestos and safe demolition can be found here.

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