OR – The Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has assessed a penalty of $10200 to Nathan Gamache and Sara Gamache from Monroe (Oregon) for allegedly allowing a person without license to carry out an asbestos removal project on a property the couple owns at 24956 Bellfountain Rd (Monroe, OR). Additionally, the DEQ has cited Gamaches for illegally storing asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and debris in the open. Under the federal and state regulations, all asbestos materials and asbestos debris to be disposed should be packaged well in leak-proof containers.
A department inspector visited the site at issue on 7th August and noticed that the demolition debris – including drywall with popcorn ceiling texture containing asbestos – in an open drop box and a concrete pad close to that drop box. He also found uncovered asbestos-containing waste piles with a high potential to emit hazardous asbestos fibres into the environment.
On 12th August, the DEQ was contacted by the drop box debris hauler. The department was informed that those drop boxes weren’t empty. The waste hauler informed the DEW inspector (who visited Gamaches’ work site) that asbestos debris might have been buried on the Gamaches’ property. Later, the DEQ confirmed that asbestos debris had indeed been buried and required the couple to hire an authorized asbestos contractor to excavate the property and dispose the dangerous debris properly. The Gamaches complied eventually.
The Department of Environmental Quality enforces Oregon environmental regulations for protecting the help of people and for keeping the area’s air, water, and land healthy and clean. Asbestos fibres are a proven respiratory hazard which can cause fatal diseases like cancer as well. Inhalation of asbestos fibres could result in ailments such as asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos is therefore a threat to the public health. It is a dangerous air pollutant. For all these reasons, asbestos has been a highly regulated substance in the United States since the 1980s. According to the DEQ, there are no safe levels of asbestos exposure. Even low levels of asbestos exposure can result in diseases such as malignant mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer that affects the mesothelium (a membrane which forms the lining of a number of body cavities). For safeguarding the general public, the Department of Environmental Quality requires licensing and training for individuals who deal with asbestos and materials containing asbestos. Violation of asbestos regulations often results in hefty penalties, in addition to imprisonment.