Asbestos Violations at Newport Naval Station Result in Fines
Three entities involved in a demolition project at the Newport Navy Base in Newport, R.I., have agreed to pay a penalty for alleged violations of federal requirements for the safe handling and disposal of asbestos during demolition activities.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency complaint, the United States Naval Station - Newport, Goel Services, Inc., and A. A. Asbestos Abatement Co., Inc. each violated the Clean Air Act and the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (Asbestos NESHAP) requirements when, in February 2009, they conducted a demolition operation involving asbestos at the Navy Base.
Specifically, EPA alleged that the three parties failed to properly seal asbestos-containing waste materials in leak-tight containers while the materials were wet. The agency previously had issued non-penalty administrative orders to both the Newport Navy Base and A.A. Asbestos Abatement for Asbestos NESHAP violations involving failure to provide proper written notice to EPA before work began. Under this settlement, the three parties must pay a $14,238 penalty and certify that they are currently operating in compliance with requirements.
The federal Clean Air Act and the Asbestos NESHAP requirements, promulgated under the act, require owners and operators of demolition or renovation operations to inspect a facility before beginning work and, for jobs involving certain threshold amounts of regulated asbestos-containing materials, to comply with specific notification, work practice, and waste disposal requirements. For demolitions, prior written notification is required under the Asbestos NESHAP whether or not asbestos is believed to be present.
EPA’s asbestos regulations help protect workers and the public from exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. Breathing asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity. Violations of Asbestos NESHAP requirements can pose significant health risks to the surrounding community, as well as to workers conducting demolition or renovation operations. In this case, however, EPA is not aware of any specific harm or exposure to airborne asbestos caused by the renovation.