Alaska asbestos contractor agrees to pay nearly $20,000

Coldfoot Environmental Services, Inc., an asbestos abatement and demolition contractor in Anchorage, Alaska, has agreed to pay a $5,100 penalty and perform a community service project to settle with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alleged violations of the asbestos National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (asbestos NESHAP).

In August 2007 and April 2008, EPA conducted asbestos compliance inspections at three Alaska demolition sites – Harborview Hospital and Public Warehouse #2 in Valdez, and the Subport Building in Juneau. The results of those inspections found that Coldfoot failed to update their written notices when the official start dates had changed, making it more difficult for EPA’s inspector to arrive at the right time to observe the projects. At the hospital job-site in Valdez, the contractor expanded the project to include an additional 75,000 square feet of regulated asbestos debris in the crawlspace, again without updating the notice to EPA.

In addition to paying the fine, Coldfoot will perform a supplemental environmental project valued at $14,800. The project requires Coldfoot to remove asbestos insulation from a boiler and piping in a building owned by a local nonprofit theater group located in Anchorage, Alaska. The theater group lacks funds to safely remove the asbestos.

Federal regulations require a thorough inspection of a facility for the presence of asbestos prior to any demolition or renovation activity. Contractors are required to remove and dispose of the material according to certain requirements such as, carefully handling, bagging and labeling of wastes, and properly disposing of them at permitted landfills.