The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed Air Safe, Inc. of Chelsea a penalty of $28,500 for violations of asbestos regulations that occurred at an occupied residence in Ayer.
In October 2017, MassDEP inspectors conducted a compliance inspection of an asbestos removal project being conducted by Air Safe. When MassDEP inspectors arrived at the property, they learned that Air Safe had completed the work and were no longer on-site. MassDEP conducted an inspection of the work area and observed pieces of asbestos-containing insulation remaining on the heating pipes and on a window sill in the basement. Air Safe, a licensed asbestos contractor, was required to clean up and decontaminate all affected parts of the basement.
MassDEP regulations require areas where asbestos removal will occur to be sealed off and air filtration equipment must be operated during the abatement work. These requirements are designed to prevent a release of asbestos fibers to the environment, to protect building occupants and the general public from exposure to asbestos fibers, and to preclude other parts of the building from becoming contaminated. The containment barriers and air filtration equipment is required to remain in place until the work area passes a visual clearance that reflects that no visible debris remains.
Under the terms of the settlement, Air Safe will pay $18,000 of the penalty, with an additional $10,500 suspended provided the company has no further violations for one year.
“As a licensed asbestos contractor, Air Safe is well aware of the required work practices for removal of asbestos-containing materials and that the abatement is not considered complete until the work area is cleaned to a level of no visible debris in accordance with the regulations,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and following required work practices is imperative to protect building occupants, workers as well as the general public. Failure to do so will result in penalties, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”
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 HYPERLINK “http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/about/contacts/” \t “_blank” here.
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.