Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Idaho Transportation Department Agrees To EPA Settlement Following Asbestos Mishandling

In April 2013, according to recent reports, Idaho Transportation Department hired St. Anthony Idaho Work Camp (Idaho Department of Correction) inmates for a project to renovate an ITD Maintenance Shop in Rigby, ID. The renovation work included the removal of approximately 460 square feet of old floor tiles and underlying mastic. Upon receiving complaints from a worker and supervisor at the job site, the EPA launched an investigation into the removal project.

During their investigation, the EPA discovered that the tile floor had been contaminated with asbestos-containing material which was then placed in a trash dumpster, a violation of asbestos waste disposal regulations. Further, the waste was then removed by a private hauler to a landfill site that did not have approval to receive asbestos contaminated material.  The ITD produced documents stating an asbestos survey for the building had last been performed in July 1989. The test was negative for asbestos but was limited to a single sampling.  Proper industry standards require the collection of multiple samples in order to test for asbestos.  The ITD had based their renovation on an over 30 year old survey which turned out to be useless in terms of giving an accurate indication of the presence of asbestos, thereby unnecessarily exposing workers to the hazardous materials.

The workers and supervisors hired by the ITD were untrained in the proper methods of handling and disposing of asbestos-contaminated materials and were left at risk for potential health hazards as a result of the work completed.

The ITD has since agreed to a settlement with the EPA which includes a $55,800 penalty for alleged violations of federal asbestos regulations. In accordance with the agreement and consent to its terms, ITD neither admits nor denies the allegations described by the EPA.

How can you help with these problems? Report incidences of hazardous materials, such as asbestos and mold, to your local or state environmental or health department. 

Read EPA's full release here:!OpenDocument

GreenEDU offers a variety of online and in-person Asbestos Certification courses to increase your awareness of these toxic materials or become certified to remove them.