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Accurately Address Asbestos or Face the Fines

December 28, 2013

What happens when asbestos is not properly disposed of? If you’re BBA Winchester LLC, the owner of a former hotel located in Winchester, Idaho, you pay a $21,000 fine to the EPA. This was the terms of an October 2013 settlement, which came as a result of BBA Winchester LLC demolishing a 100-year-old hotel, without first checking the building for asbestos, removing asbestos materials, or notifying EPA, as required by law. According to 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.”

The hotel owner was just one of many who’ve been hit with steep penalties by the EPA for improper handling of asbestos waste. In August 2012, a construction supervisor was sentenced to six years in jail for improperly handling a sewer pipe that cost the EPA nearly $4 million in clean up.

The EPA takes asbestos handling and disposal very seriously because of the serious health risks that are involved. Asbestos, if disturbed can break into tiny fibrous particles that can get into the air making them easy to breathe in. While many of what is inhaled is also exhaled, some particles can stick in the lungs causing scarring and infection, and in time can lead to cancer and other serious complications.

To avoid penalties, fines, and most importantly, health risks to you and other, use these tips for asbestos waste management.

  • Familiarize yourself with EPA regulations regarding asbestos, such as:
  • Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), which provides guidance to building owners and managers in the maintenance of the asbestos-containing materials.
  • National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) under the Clean Air Act, which specifies regulations for the demolition and remodeling of existing buildings.
  • Develop an Operations and Management Program for asbestos-containing materials, as outlined by the EPA. Program elements include training, occupant notification, monitoring schedules, job-site controls, best practices, record keeping, and worker safety.
  • Work with trained and certified asbestos professionals.

Asbestos is no joke, and when handled incorrectly can lead to financial, legal, and health problems. Let the Hazardous Waste Experts devise asbestos disposal strategies that are right for your building, business, and budget. Contact us at 800-936-2311 to speak with an expert.


Photo courtesy of Will Fisher at Flickr

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.