WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY


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Big fine for mishandling construction debris asbestos

Typical asbestos insulation in old construction Wiki Commons photo

Typical asbestos insulation in old construction
Wiki Commons photo

Property owners fined $10,200 for allowing unlicensed asbestos work

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $10,200 penalty to Nathan and Sara
Gamache of Monroe for allowing an unlicensed person to perform an asbestos abatement project on property they own at 24956 Bellfountain Road, also in Monroe. In addition, DEQ cited the couple for storing asbestos contaminated materials and other waste in the open. State and federal regulations require all asbestos waste materials be packaged in leak-proof containers.

A DEQ inspector visited the work site and observed the demolition waste, including sheetrock with asbestos-containing popcorn ceiling texture in an uncovered drop box and on a concrete pad next to the drop box. Uncovered piles of asbestos containing waste have potential to release hazardous asbestos fibers into the air.

Then the case took an odd turn. The drop box waste hauler contacted DEQ and informed the inspector assigned to the Gamache demolition site that the boxes were now empty. The waste hauler also told the inspector that the asbestos waste was likely buried on the property. DEQ later confirmed that indeed the asbestos waste had indeed been buried there. DEQ ordered the Gamaches to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to dig up and properly dispose of the waste. The Gamaches eventually complied.

DEQ enforces Oregon environmental laws to protect people’s health and to keep our region’s air, land, and water clean and healthy. Asbestos fibers are a respiratory hazard proven to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos is a danger to public health and a hazardous air pollutant for which there is no known safe level of exposure. To safeguard public health DEQ requires training and licensing for people who handle materials that contain asbestos.

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