For Immediate Release - April 17, 2014

MassDEP Assesses Town and Country Builders a $37,625 Penalty for Asbestos Violations at Uxbridge Multi-family Residence

BOSTON - Town and Country Builders of Whitinsville and its owner, Denis Latour, were fined $37,625 by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for failing to follow safe and legal asbestos removal procedures during a project in Uxbridge.

During a December 2012 inspection, MassDEP inspectors observed that Mr. Latour had improperly removed more than 100 linear feet of asbestos-containing pipe insulation from a multi-family residential property on Bouffard Lane. Numerous pieces of dry, friable asbestos-containing insulation were discovered uncontained on the basement floor of the property and also in an unmarked tarp lying outside in the yard. Additionally, inspectors found that the asbestos insulation had not been wet, the work area had not been sealed off and air filtration units were not utilized during the removal work as required.

MassDEP had also not been notified in advance of the asbestos removal project as required by state regulations.

Upon discovery, MassDEP required Mr. Latour to immediately retain the services of a Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards-licensed asbestos contractor to properly handle, package and dispose of all the asbestos waste in the yard, and to cleanup and decontaminate the basement and all affected areas of the property.

"Home improvement contractors must be fully aware of their responsibilities to ensure the proper removal, handling, packaging and disposal of asbestos-containing materials. Failure to notify MassDEP of asbestos removal, and not following proper work practices potentially exposes workers, tenants and the general public to a known carcinogen," said Lee Dillard Adams, director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester.  "As this case illustrates, noncompliance with the asbestos regulations will result in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and monitoring costs."

MassDEP regulations require notification to the agency in advance of an asbestos removal project, as well as proper removal, handling, packaging, labeling, storage and disposal of asbestos waste materials. These critical measures prevent the release of and potential exposure to asbestos fibers, and warn of the health hazards associated with that type of waste material.

For these violations, MassDEP assessed a penalty of $37,625, but agreed to suspend $7,525 of that penalty provided the company does not have repeat violations for one year.

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 at:

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.  

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