Oregon Business Penalized $9,600 for Asbestos Handling Violations On Corvallis Business Campus – March 2011

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $9,600 penalty to an Oregon business for allowing an unlicensed contractor to perform an asbestos removal project in one of its business campus buildings, in Corvallis last summer.

The Oregon business allowed a flooring contractor to begin a carpet removal project in the commercial building in late July 2010. While removing the carpet, the flooring company’s employees disturbed about 456 square feet of underlying, asbestos-containing vinyl floor tile. The employees broke the tile into pieces, likely releasing asbestos fibers into the air. As owner of the building, the Oregon business is responsible for ensuring that asbestos in the building is properly managed.

Asbestos fibers are a known respiratory hazard proven to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, and asbestos is a danger to public health and a hazardous air contaminant for which there is no known safe level of exposure.

DEQ also cited the Oregon business for openly accumulating the asbestos-containing waste material from the carpet removal project, but did not issue a penalty for this violation.

The Oregon business did not appeal the penalty and the full penalty amount is now due. The Oregon business has discussed doing a Supplement Environmental Project as part of its penalty payment. Supplemental environmental projects can include a variety of actions that address local environmental problems. Up to 80 percent of the total penalty amount can be put towards a project that benefits Oregon’s environment. DEQ must approve any project proposed by the Oregon business.