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EPA Cites Asbestos Violations At Demolition Project At Richboro School Construction Site

Release Date: 4/3/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited three parties for violating federal asbestos regulations during a May 2000 demolition project in Richboro in Bucks County, Pa.

EPA’s administrative complaint seeks a $23,120 penalty for alleged asbestos violations during the demolition of three houses and other storage structures at the construction site of a new high school at Holland Road in Richboro. Named in the complaint are Council Rock School District, asbestos removal contractor Jen Environmental Construction Technologies, and environmental consultant Synertech Inc.

EPA alleges that these parties violated Clean Air Act asbestos regulations by failing to adequately wet regulated asbestos-containing material during stripping operations and prior to disposal, breaking and causing visible releases of asbestos material prior to placing the material in leak-tight containers, failing to properly mark vehicles used to transport asbestos wastes, and violating asbestos project notification, reporting and record keeping requirements.

The alleged violations were discovered in a May 16, 2000 EPA inspection of the demolition site, and documented in EPA’s subsequent investigation.

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.

To reduce the risk of asbestos emissions, EPA’s regulations require that asbestos-containing materials that may release asbestos fibers during demolition or renovation must be adequately wetted during removal, and carefully handled to prevent unnecessary damage. These materials must remain adequately wetted, or be securely bagged or otherwise treated to minimize asbestos emissions until disposal.

The parties cited in the complaint have the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalty.