Asbestos Violations at Auburn Residence Results in $20,725 Penalty for New Hampshire-based Realty Trust
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $20,725 penalty to Arraho Realty Trust of Nashua, N.H. for failing to follow asbestos removal procedures required by MassDEP regulations on a project in Auburn.
During a February 2011 inspection, MassDEP inspectors observed asbestos-containing siding shingles being improperly removed from a vacant residential structure located on Perry Street in Auburn. The shingles were being removed without any attempt to minimize breakage or to carefully lower them to the ground. During the inspection, MassDEP observed numerous dry, shattered asbestos-containing shingles uncontained on the ground
MassDEP regulations require asbestos-containing siding shingles to be removed wet, with adequate precautions taken to minimize breakage, carefully lowering them to the ground and sealing the asbestos waste while wet into leak-tight containers that have appropriate asbestos warning labels affixed to them. These work procedures, which were not being followed, are critical measures designed to prevent a release of asbestos fibers to the environment, to protect building occupants and the general public from exposure to asbestos fibers and to preclude other parts of the building from becoming contaminated.
Under the terms of a negotiated settlement, the company must pay $6,500 of the assessed penalty, and MassDEP has agreed to suspend the remaining $14,225 provided that the Trust does not have repeat violations for one year.
"Property owners should either hire licensed asbestos contractors for this type of work or comply with the removal, handling, packaging and storage requirements that must be followed when dealing with asbestos-containing siding themselves," said Lee Dillard Adams, director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester. "Asbestos is a known carcinogen and following prescribed regulatory work practices is imperative to protect the health of workers and the general public, as well as the environment. Failure to do so will result in penalties, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs."
Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, notification requirements, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures or the asbestos regulations are encouraged to contact the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office for assistance.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.