EPA Fines Arizona Dept. of Transportation

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was levying a fine against the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and BCS Enterprises, a Gilbert, Ariz. demolition contractor, for violations of the Clean Air Act involving improper asbestos removal.

A press release issued by the EPA notes that the two organizations will pay a combined fine of more than $36,000. The fines are the result of an improper demolition of an asbestos-containing structure in Florence Junction, Pinal County, Arizona.

“If not handled properly, asbestos is a hazard to demolition workers and to the surrounding communities,” said Deborah Jordan, the EPA’s Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “This is the EPA’s fourth asbestos enforcement action against the Arizona Department of Transportation in the past five years. We expect them to address this potentially hazardous pattern of non-compliance.”

According to EPA records, during the demolition – which took place in April 2006 – ADOT and BCS Enterprises violated federal laws by failing to 1) remove the asbestos shingles before demolition; 2) maintain and provide proper waste shipment records; and 3) properly notify the EPA and the local air pollution control agency of the demolition and asbestos removal operations.

This is not the first time the Arizona Department of Transportation has been fined for asbestos-related violations. In 2003, the department paid $116,000 in fines and implemented a compliance program to settle a judicial case against itself and four other defendants involving notification and inspection violations at four demolition sites in Arizona. Further violations occurred in 2005, pertaining to the demolition of an abandoned fuel island in the town of Show Low, Arizona.