Environmental Protection

Oregon Fines Two Companies for Asbestos Mishandling

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has placed penalties on Cascade Paving and Oregon Employees Federal Credit Union for improper removal of asbestos from the demolition of a 90-year-old house in Salem.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a total of $48,000 in penalties to Cascade Paving Inc., of Salem, and the Oregon Employees Federal Credit Union for asbestos-related violations stemming from the September 2010 demolition of a 90-year-old home owned by the credit union.

Grinding of asbestos-containing debris from the demolition resulted in fine particulate emissions that coated neighboring buildings and vehicles and potentially exposed people to asbestos fibers, which are a respiratory hazard proven to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

On Sept. 26, 2010, the Oregon Employees Federal Credit Union allowed Cascade Paving Inc. to demolish a house it had bought adjacent to the credit union’s Salem location. Cascade Paving was not licensed to conduct an asbestos abatement project. Two days later, Cascade Paving employees processed a portion of the demolition debris through a grinder. A Sept. 29 DEQ inspection of the site revealed that the debris that ran through the grinder contained asbestos-containing sheet vinyl flooring. The grinding resulted in emissions of fine particulate matter into the environment. DEQ’s asbestos inspector also noted demolition debris openly piled at the site; this debris contained asbestos-containing heat duct insulation, vinyl floor tile, sheet vinyl flooring, and roof tar adhesive.

DEQ also learned that Cascade Paving transported a portion of the ground-up debris to its property at 3750 Mainline Drive NE. Company officials later told DEQ that it transported this unpackaged debris to the Riverbend Landfill near McMinnville. Riverbend Landfill is not authorized to accept asbestos-containing waste.

DEQ issued $27,000 in penalties to Cascade Paving Inc., citing the following violations:

  • Openly accumulating asbestos-containing waste material. Cascade Paving failed to package the material in leak-tight containers, as required by state asbestos regulations. ($10,200 penalty)
  • Failing to dispose of asbestos-containing waste material at a disposal site authorized to accept such material. ($9,600 penalty)
  • Causing visible emissions while performing demolition activity. ($7,200 penalty)
  • Performing an asbestos abatement project without a license. (DEQ did not issue a penalty for this violation)

The state agency issued $21,000 in penalties to Oregon Employees Federal Credit Union, citing the following violations:

  • Allowing an unlicensed person to perform an asbestos abatement project on a facility it owned ($10,800 penalty)
  • Openly accumulating asbestos-containing waste material, failing to properly package the friable, breakable material ($10,200)
  • Failing to have an accredited inspector survey the property for the presence of asbestos-containing material prior to having a renovation/demolition project performed (DEQ did not issue a penalty for this violation)

DEQ told Oregon Employees Federal Credit Union officials that it was concerned the organization demolished the house without having any materials sampled for the presence of asbestos. In February 2010, the organization had been provided a report stating the materials in the structure likely contained asbestos and that a licensed asbestos abatement contractor would need to be hired to remove any asbestos-containing materials prior to demolition.

To protect the public from asbestos exposure, DEQ requires that asbestos abatement projects be done only by contractors who are specially trained and licensed. A licensed asbestos abatement contractor would have known how to remove the asbestos materials and how to properly contain, label, and dispose of the materials to prevent emissions of asbestos fibers into the air. Because of the materials’ mishandling, Cascade Paving employees, employees at neighboring businesses, residents in nearby homes and workers at Riverbend Landfill were potentially exposed to harmful asbestos fibers.

Oregon Employees Credit Union appealed its penalties on March 17. Cascade Paving Inc.has until April 14 to appeal its penalties.

Source: Oregon DEQ

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