For Immediate Release - May 10, 2012

Asbestos Removal Company to Pay $150,000 After Improper Removal at Gardner Senior Center

Environmental Restoration Services Corp. Dumped Asbestos in Senior Center Parking Lot Without Proper Containment

BOSTON – An asbestos removal company, and its president, will pay $150,000 in civil penalties for improperly removing asbestos during the renovation of a Gardner senior center in June 2009, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

“Those who improperly remove and handle asbestos create a potential serious health risk to the asbestos handlers and to the general public,” said AG Coakley. “We will not tolerate companies that cut corners when removing this harmful substance and endanger the health and safety of those in the surrounding area.” 

The court entered a final judgment on May 3 after a complaint was filed in Suffolk Superior Court in March 2011. The complaint alleged that the Environmental Restoration Services Corporation, a licensed asbestos removal contractor, and Jorge Elias, its president, engaged in the illegal removal of asbestos-containing materials from the Gardner Senior Center during its renovation without approval or authorization from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

According to the complaint, the defendants completely gutted the first floor of the senior center and partially removed vinyl asbestos floor tiles from the basement as well as asbestos adhesives. Afterward, they allegedly disposed the asbestos containing materials on the ground and in an open-top trash container in the senior center’s parking lot. The defendants allegedly did not cover, contain, wet, label, or seal the asbestos that was stored in the container or on the ground as required by state law. 

“Licensed asbestos contractors know the dangers posed by exposure to asbestos and that proper removal, handling and disposal procedures are in place to safeguard the health of workers and the general public,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Significant penalties will be levied on those who fail to follow those procedures. It doesn’t pay to ignore these requirements.”       

Pursuant to MassDEP regulations, the removal of asbestos must be performed by a licensed contractor with notification as to when the removal will occur and requires certain methods and standards for removal, safety, storage, and disposal of the asbestos through the abatement process to help keep asbestos from becoming airborne.

Asbestos fibers can cause cancer and other serious respiratory problems and diseases when inhaled. 

Assistant Attorney General Betsy Harper of AG Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division handled the case with assistance from MassDEP attorney Mary Jude Pigsley, Regional Asbestos Chief Gregory Levins, and Investigator Don Heeley from MassDEP’s Central Regional Office.

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