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News Releases from Region 10

EPA Settles with Boise Ski Park Developer Over Asbestos Violation

Contact Information: 
Suzanne Skadowski (skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov)

(Seattle - April 11, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Gateway Parks LLC, a ski and snowboard park owner and developer based in Boise, Idaho, will pay a $10,000 penalty to settle a claim of a violation of federal asbestos regulations designed to protect public health. EPA alleged that the company violated asbestos rules when it failed to notify the EPA before asbestos-containing buildings were demolished at the former Lazy J Tavern complex in Eagle, Idaho, northwest of Boise. Notification is required to give EPA inspectors an opportunity to check on buildings before demolition to make sure asbestos has been removed and to protect the public from exposure to harmful asbestos dust.

According to Director Ed Kowalski of EPA's Pacific Northwest Office of Compliance and Enforcement, "EPA's asbestos rules require building owners and contractors to notify the EPA in advance of demolition projects and to use certified professionals to remove asbestos before demolition. When you fail to follow those procedures, your job site can become contaminated and put public health at risk from asbestos exposure. In a misguided effort to save money, Gateway Parks cut corners and unfortunately turned a $14,000 demolition into a $75,000 mess. In the end, we know it's far less expensive, and much safer, to do this work the right way the first time."

In January 2014, Gateway Parks purchased the former Lazy J Tavern property on North Horseshoe Bend Road, to expand its operations next to an existing park in Eagle, Idaho. In May 2014, the company hired a consultant to inspect for asbestos in eight buildings on the site to prepare for demolition. The consultant found asbestos in six of the buildings and submitted a bid for asbestos abatement. Gateway Parks rejected the bid and some of the buildings were later demolished without first notifying the EPA, as required by federal asbestos rules. Because asbestos materials were left in the buildings during demolition, the resulting debris piles were contaminated with an unknown amount of asbestos.

In response to a public complaint in December 2014, EPA investigated the site in coordination with state and local authorities. In April 2015, EPA ordered Gateway Parks to clean up asbestos-contaminated debris from buildings already demolished and to follow required safe work practices for all pending building demolitions. The company hired an asbestos abatement contractor and the site was cleaned up by May 2015. Approximately 27 truckloads containing a total of 945 cubic yards of debris mixed with asbestos-containing materials were hauled to a permitted landfill where it was safely disposed. The cleanup and disposal of the asbestos-containing debris cost Gateway Parks more than $65,000, in addition to the federal penalty.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that naturally occurs in rock and soil. It was historically used in building materials and in construction for fireproofing and insulation. If inhaled, microscopic asbestos particles can lodge deep in the lungs, increasing risks of developing lung disease or cancer. Asbestos fibers may be released into the air when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or during demolition work and building or home maintenance, repair or remodeling. To protect public health, federal rules require that only trained and certified asbestos abatement professionals should handle, remove and safely dispose of asbestos containing materials in licensed landfills or other approved disposal facilities.

Learn more about EPA's work to reduce health risks from asbestos at: https://www.epa.gov/asbestos.