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Suit alleges failure to remove asbestos in residential renovations

A contractor is facing significant monetary fines and other legal consequences after failing to comply with the Clean Air Act while overseeing the renovation of three residential properties. The Attorney General's Office, which has filed the lawsuit against the man, is reportedly seeking fines of up to $25,000 for every day that the contractor failed to follow required asbestos cleanup procedures and safety precautions during the renovations

According to court documents filed in the improper asbestos removal case, the first offense took place in September 2009. While renovating a home, the contractor's employees reportedly cleaned shingles with a high-pressure power washer. In doing so, the workers caused asbestos to fly into the air and onto the ground.

In a 2011 home renovation, the contractor's employees covered shingles made of asbestos with new vinyl siding and drilled through the siding and shingles to install heating vents in the home. In doing so, they caused asbestos to be released into the air. In another home renovation in 2011, the contractor's employees dropped asbestos shingle debris from the third floor of a building directly onto the ground.

In all of the renovations, the court documents allege, the contractor and his employees did not comply with general asbestos removal requirements, such as maintaining adequate wetness levels in order to prevent asbestos dust. He is also accused of failing to cover, seal or label containers that held asbestos shingles and other asbestos-containing products during the renovations.

It is promising that state agencies are willing to take on these cases of improper asbestos removal in order to keep the unsuspecting public safe from the many dangers of asbestos exposure. Hopefully, cases like these serve as a warning to others who would violate asbestos removal laws.

Source: South Coast Today, "Attorney general files suit against Acushnet man for asbestos removal," Oct. 25, 2012

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