Boston, MA – The Massachusetts State Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued a fine of $27379 against Sallie Swartz and Alan Bernhardt for allegedly violating asbestos regulations. The violations were found during an inspection conducted by the agency at a rental residential property on Main St. in Williamsburg (MA).
The inspection was conducted by the MassDEP in 2012 December after it received a complaint from the tenants. The agency confirmed that Ms. Swartz and Mr. Bernhardt had retained someone to remove pipe insulation containing asbestos without filing the required notification and without adopting the right procedures for asbestos handling as well as disposal. Bernhardt disposed of the asbestos containing materials at Williamsburg Transfer Station in Williamsburg.
However, the property owners cooperated with the DEP and engaged a state-licensed asbestos abatement contractor for properly cleaning up the site.
In a settlement with the MassDEP, Swartz and Bernhardt has agreed to pay a fine of $9000. The remaining $18379 was suspended by the MassDEP on condition that Swartz and Bernhardt will comply with the order’s terms and would abide by all the state regulations concerning asbestos handling for a period of 12 months.
The asbestos regulations of the MassDEP is intended to protect the environment and the public health by putting safe asbestos handling procedures into practice for preventing the emission of toxic asbestos fibres from products containing asbestos, said MassDEP’s Michael Gorski. Gorski is the director of Western Regional Office at Springfield in Massachusetts. He said property owners must be aware of such requirements. It’s vital for their own protection as well as the safety of their tenants, Gorski said.
Property owners and contractors who have questions regarding materials containing asbestos; requirements of notification; proper handling, packaging, removal, storage, transportation and disposal procedures of asbestos materials; or state asbestos regulations can contact the nearby regional office of the MassDEP for assistance.
Asbestos is the name given to a group of various minerals which occur in the environment naturally. Asbestos is made up of thin, long fibres. These fibres are very robust and highly resistant against heat, fire, electricity and chemicals. Due to such properties, asbestos had been widely used in a variety of products. Until the 1980s, asbestos was an inevitable ingredient in many construction materials, fabrics, and friction products. Danger is when tiny asbestos fibres suspended in the air are breathed in. Asbestos inhalation could result in deadly ailments including cancer.