For Immediate Release - June 26, 2013

Columbia Construction Co. and USA Demolition Inc. Penalized $32,100 Each for Asbestos Violations in Beverly

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized two contractors, Columbia Construction Company of North Reading, and USA Demolition Inc. of Woburn, $32,100 each after asbestos violations, including the improper removal of 3,000 square feet of asbestos-containing floor tile, were found at 32 Tozer Road in Beverly.

On August 5, 2011, MassDEP inspected the property, where Columbia had been hired as a general contractor to conduct renovation work, and USA Demolition as a sub-contractor to perform demolition work. Neither company properly notified MassDEP of the demolition work or asbestos abatement work as required. In addition, the companies engaged in the improper removal, collection, and disposal into a rolloff dumpster at the site of the asbestos-containing floor tile. The work was done without any controls to prevent the release of the loose, dry, friable, asbestos material into the air.

"When asbestos is removed improperly, it creates emissions that are known to be a health hazard to those who breathe that material into their lungs," said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. "The lack of notification, the lack of controls and the careless disposal of this material are all violations and caused an unacceptable public health risk to workers and anyone else in the immediate area."

After MassDEP ordered the work halted, and the work area cordoned off, the companies hired a licensed asbestos contractor to prepare a plan to remediate the site in compliance with all asbestos removal and disposal regulations.   

Columbia will pay $9,700 of its penalty and MassDEP has agreed to suspend the remaining $22,400 provided there no additional violations over the next year. USA Demolition will pay $8,700 of its penalty and MassDEP has agreed to suspend the remaining $23,400 provided there are no additional violations over the next year.

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.