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September 20, 2018

Contractor fined for asbestos violations at Worcester project

WORCESTER — A demolition company has been fined up to $125,000 for mishandling asbestos during a renovation of the Crompton and Knowles building at 95 Grand St.

According to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, the contractor, McConnell Enterprises Inc., of Essex and Braintree, “uncovered piping wrapped with asbestos insulation during demolition in 2011 and allegedly left it hanging three stories above the ground, putting workers and others in the area at risk of contact with harmful fibers for an extended period of time.”

McConnell — a state-licensed asbestos removal contractor — “finally removed the asbestos-covered pipes and other asbestos-containing materials from the building on Grand Street, the company failed to properly handle and store it, leaving it in unmarked black plastic bags in a nearby building where people regularly come and go and other businesses operate.”

The complaint, filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, McConnell “also failed to follow proper notification procedures, preventing the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) from conducting appropriate oversight of the company’s asbestos removal activities.”

In order to secure payment under its demolition contract with the city of Worcester, the complaint alleged that McConnell “falsely certified that it had complied with the applicable laws and regulations, violating the Massachusetts False Claims Act. The complaint also alleges various violations of the commonwealth’s air pollution prevention statute, its asbestos regulations, and its solid waste management statute and regulations.”

Under the settlement, McConnell must pay $82,500 in civil penalties to the state, and another $42,500 in civil penalties if it fails to conform to waste regulations over the next 18 months.

When reached at its Braintree headquarters Friday, a McConnell employee said the company would have no comment.

“Licensed asbestos contractors are fully aware of the removal, handling, packaging and storage requirements that must be followed when dealing with asbestos-containing materials and of the requirement to provide notification to MassDEP in advance of this work,” said DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell in a press release. “Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and following the rules is imperative to protect workers as well as the general public and environment. Failure to do so will result in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”

Aaron Nicodemus can be reached at anicodemus@telegram.com

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Contractor fined for asbestos violations at Worcester project

Asbestos found in the air we breathe

News 3 has correction to a story which aired Thursday, Jan. 9 on News 3 live at 7. We reported that the small town of Libby Montana was evacuated because of asbestos contamination from a mine. This is similar to the natural occurring asbestos discovered near Boulder City and Henderson. Libby was not evacuated. The Environmental Protection Agency declared a public health emergency in Libby in 2009 and ordered a cleanup of homes in the area.

LAS VEGAS — What’s in the air you breath?

A study by researchers at UNLV found asbestos in the air in Boulder City and southern Clark County. Researchers call our air hazardous and now other universities are joining in to find out how dangerous it is and to study possible cancers associated with it.

Researchers stay away from the word panic but that isn’t because it’s not dangerous. It’s just too early in the study to worry.

“What we have identified is a hazard and people should have the opportunity to know about it so they can make choices,” said UNLV Professor Brenda Buck, who is behind the research

The geologist was in the middle of a different study when she found naturally occurring asbestos outside boulder city
The same type of asbestos known to cause cancer and mesothelioma.

The comparison is Libby, Mont., a town with several illnesses related to the same type of asbestos found here in Nevada.

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Asbestos found in the air we breathe

Asbestos fears in wake of Christine

Residents affected by ex-tropical cyclone Christine are warned over the risk of exposure to asbestos.

Residents affected by ex-tropical cyclone Christine are warned over the risk of exposure to asbestos after buildings were hammered earlier in the week.

The cyclonic winds and pelting rain may have passed by Western Australia’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions, however, ex-tropical cyclone Christine has exposed a fresh yet familiar danger for residents to contend with.

Asbestos in buildings, fencing and other building products dislodged or damaged during the wild weather now pose an additional health risk to Pilbara residents if they are exposed to the cancer-causing material.

Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer Laine McDonald issued the warning to residents of the risks of asbestos exposure during the cleaning up of properties, homes and businesses battered by Christine.

“Once asbestos is disturbed, it can pose a real danger to health,” Ms McDonald said.

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“Residents who are returning to their homes and businesses could be at risk of exposure, especially if they start cleaning up without the right protection.

“While it’s difficult to tell if a structure contains asbestos, if it was built in the mid-1980s – the time when this common building product was phased out – you assume there’s a risk.”

It’s believe about 600 Australian are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.

Asbestos was commonly used as a construction material throughout the Pilbara.

It was mined in Wittenoom, 1100 kilometres north-east of Perth in the Pilbara, before the town was evacuated and essentially wiped off the map by authorities.

“Asbestos products damaged by severe storms like cyclone Christine can release a very dangerous dust which, once breathed in, can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious illnesses,” Ms McDonald said.

“Each year around 250 Western Australians die from asbestos-related diseases, with a lag of about 30-40 years between exposure and diagnosis of an illness.

“Asbestos products are still in our homes, businesses and communities more than 40 years after the Wittenoom mine closed, so it’s a hazard that continues to confront us all.”

Despite the category three cyclone coming within about 100 kilometres of the Town of Port Hedland, mayor Kelly Howlett said the district had escaped with minor damage, mostly to the area’s natural landscape.

“We’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do but we were very fortunate,” Cr Howlett said.

“We’ve not seen any bad structural damage, just a few trees down, a lot of sand swept up from the beach and a bit of flooding.”

Cr Howlett said new and updated property development in the region had reduced the number of buildings containing asbestos.

“It’s generally been replaced in the past decade … but there’s still quite a bit.”

She said the town’s asbestos handling and removal safety procedures were “well known” to residents.

“Residents need to get relevant council approval [to remove asbestos material], but they’re quite well versed in that.”

Originally from:  

Asbestos fears in wake of Christine

Federal appeals court upholds Chattanooga asbestos convictions

James Mathis, accompanied by his wife, leaves the Federal Courthouse in this 2012 file photo.

James Mathis, accompanied by his wife, leaves the Federal Courthouse in this 2012 file photo.

Photo by

Jake Daniels

/Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the convictions of two men found guilty of violating federal environmental laws during the demolition of a Chattanooga textile mill that contained large amounts of asbestos.

James Mathis and Donald Fillers were convicted in 2012 of conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act in demolishing a textile mill without properly removing asbestos. Prosecutors said the demolition allowed asbestos, which can cause cancer and other fatal diseases, to become airborne.

Fillers was given a four-year prison sentence and fined $20,000, while Mathis was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

In challenging their convictions, both men claimed there was insufficient evidence in their case.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that there was plenty of sufficient evidence to convict the men, and affirmed a district court’s ruling.

Particularly in the case of Fillers, the court said “ample evidence exists … that Fillers knowingly acted with others to unlawfully remove asbestos from the site.”

During the three-week trial, witnesses testified that asbestos littered the demolition site. An employee of a nearby day care facility testified that the air in the area was so contaminated that children were unable to play outside, according to court documents.

Fillers’ violations include failure to wet the material containing asbestos during removal and failure to containerize and timely dispose of the material.

Owners and operators of demolition activities must give a notice — including a description of the location and amount of asbestos — to the Environmental Protection Agency 10 days before demolition.

Prosecutors said Mathis acted fraudulently by agreeing with Fillers to file a false 10-day notice, which vastly understated the amount of asbestos at the site.

“The jury … had ample evidence to conclude that Mathis knowingly violated the removal requirement,” the appeals court said.

Mathis’ attorney did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press. However, Fillers’ attorney, Leslie Cory, said she’s disappointed with the ruling and planned to discuss options with her client.

“Mr. Fillers has several options,” said Cory, who declined to elaborate. “I’m going to go over them with him and he’ll make the final decision of what he wants to do next.”

David Wood, another defendant in the case, was found guilty on similar charges and given a 20-month prison sentence.

Fillers’ company, Watkins Street Project LLC, also was found guilty and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine.

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Federal appeals court upholds Chattanooga asbestos convictions

Side-stepping asbestos worries, mine company scales back sampling plans

A company looking to dig a huge iron mine in far northwestern Wisconsin has scaled back its plan for sampling rock in the area to avoid rock containing hazardous asbestos-like fibers.

The state Department of Natural Resources on Monday released Gogebic Taconite’s revised plan for removing tons of rock from the proposed mine site.

After the company submitted its first bulk sampling plan, the DNR asked for more detail. Since then, the agency disclosed the discovery of grunerite rocks in a form that can release fibers like the ones known to cause deadly lung cancer.

Now Gogebic Taconite says it will take two previously proposed sampling sites out of its plan. Questions about how much asbestos-like material is present would wait to be settled when the company files for a permit to begin mining.

“The grunerite issue has been the subject of a media debate and the removal of these areas leaves the debate to be resolved by the systematic and scientific study of the issue that will be required within the permit application,” the revised plan states. “Our position remains that asbestiform material is unlikely to be present in the reserve, but will defer to a proven and methodical approach to address the potential of asbestiform materials in the future mining permit application.”

The plan promises visual inspections at sampling sites to detect grunerite, and also sulphide, which can cause problems of acid drainage from mine sites.

Company spokesman Bob Seitz didn’t return a phone message Monday. DNR officials in charge of the mining project also were unavailable.

The mine project has been divisive, with environmentalists warning that the asbestiform material is dangerous and that mining could release acids that would ruin waterways and wetlands.

The Legislature this year amended state law to limit the extent to which the DNR can review the project, saying that mining jobs were badly needed.

The company originally wanted to remove 4,000 tons of rock from five sites in the Penokee Hills. The company planned to use excavation equipment or explosives. The DNR wanted more details, though.

The new plan calls for removing samples from three sites instead of five using excavation equipment. The company would turn to blasting if it can’t obtain enough materials.

The DNR plans to review the plan and let the company know what permits will be necessary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

See more here – 

Side-stepping asbestos worries, mine company scales back sampling plans

Asbestos fibers found in northern Wisconsin mine site

Asbestos mineral fibers have been found in a rock sample from Gogebic Taconite’s proposed iron ore mine site in northern Wisconsin, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

But the extent of the mineral, known as grunerite, at the site of the $1.5 billion proposed mine in Ashland and Iron counties is not known, the DNR said.

The presence of asbestos was confirmed by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey recently after a DNR geologist visiting the site last spring suspected the rock contained telltale fibers of the carcinogen.

Gogebic Taconite has been conducting preliminary work as part of its plans to apply for a permit to mine iron ore from a large open pit that could run for 4 miles.

Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz said the company will conduct studies to determine the extent of asbestos in the rock. He said a mining bill passed last spring, and attacked by opponents, included language that mandated the analysis.

University of Minnesota researchers released results of a five-year study earlier this year which found taconite industry workers face an increased risk of contracting mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, and the risk increases the longer they remain on the job. Researchers also said they couldn’t say for certain if dust from iron mining and processing operations caused it.

Sen. Robert Jauch, whose district includes the proposed mine, opposes the project under the mining regulations approved by the Legislature.

The existence of asbestos “raises numerous serious scientific concerns about the geology of the area,” Jauch said.

Jauch said he was troubled that Gogebic said in a letter to the DNR in July that it didn’t believe grunerite would be found.

Seitz said the company made the comments based on information from consultants and data supplied by U.S. Steel, which conducted exploratory work decades ago.

This article: 

Asbestos fibers found in northern Wisconsin mine site

Asbestos fiber found in rock at proposed mine site

MADISON, WI (AP) –

Asbestos mineral fibers have been found in a rock sample from Gogebic Taconite’s proposed iron ore mine site in northern Wisconsin, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

But the extent of the mineral, known as grunerite, at the site of the $1.5 billion proposed mine in Ashland and Iron counties is not known, the DNR said.

The presence of asbestos was confirmed by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey recently after a DNR geologist visiting the site last spring suspected the rock contained telltale fibers of the carcinogen.

Gogebic Taconite has been conducting preliminary work as part of its plans to apply for a permit to mine iron ore from a large open pit that could run for 4 miles.

If Gogebic goes ahead with its formal application, it would be required to study the extent of asbestos in the rock, explain how it would control the spread of airborne emissions and how it would be monitored, DNR hydrogeologist Larry Lynch told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“The main concern is airborne particulates,” Lynch said. “It will come down to how effective their dust control will be.”

Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz said the company will conduct studies to determine the extent of asbestos in the rock. He said a mining bill passed last spring, and attacked by opponents, included language that mandated the analysis.

University of Minnesota researchers released results of a five-year study earlier this year which found taconite industry workers face an increased risk of contracting mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, and the risk increases the longer they remain on the job. Researchers also said they couldn’t say for certain if dust from iron mining and processing operations caused it.

Sen. Robert Jauch, whose district includes the proposed mine, opposes the project under the mining regulations approved by the Legislature.

The existence of asbestos “raises numerous serious scientific concerns about the geology of the area,” Jauch said.

Jauch said he was troubled that Gogebic said in a letter to the DNR in July that it didn’t believe grunerite would be found.

Seitz said the company made the comments based on information from consultants and data supplied by U.S. Steel, which conducted exploratory work decades ago.

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Asbestos fiber found in rock at proposed mine site

Asbestos found on Graceville school oval

Asbestos has been found on the oval at Graceville State Primary School.

Asbestos has been found on the oval at Graceville State Primary School.

Graceville State School students and staff will have to wait until investigations are complete to learn whether asbestos debris found on the school oval has put them at risk.

However Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek was quick to say he thought it was “unlikely”.

Speaking outside parliament on Thursday, Mr Langbroek said the site had been immediately closed off when the debris was discovered and air tests were currently being conducted.

“We have a strong series of protocols that we enact whenever these issues are raised,” Mr Langbroek said.

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“These protocols are being followed and the safety of students and their teachers and the whole school community is what we are committed to.”

A letter sent to student’s homes on Wednesday alerted parents to the discovery.

The debris was found during construction work at the school.

The state government has budgeted $40 million over two years to remove asbestos from Queensland schools.
But Mr Langbroek said the process would take time.

“It is obvious that when you have a very, very big capital works program – and we have a number of schools that were built pre the 1990s and we are having a lot of construction and a lot of maintenance – we are going to have these issues of asbestos being uncovered in some of the older sites,” Mr Langbroek said.

The state’s School’s Asbestos Register, which details areas in schools where asbestos has been identified, has more than 9000 pages.

Asbestos, left undisturbed, poses no danger.

Construction workers were hosing down the Graceville school’s oval on Thursday morning.

In her letter to parents, acting principal Catherine Waldron said access to the oval had been restricted.

‘‘Testing has confirmed that the debris contains asbestos,’’ she wrote.

‘‘Repairs and a professional clean are to be undertaken. The area will remain restricted until a clearance is provided for its reuse. These precautions will ensure that all students and staff are kept safely away from the area.’’

Regional education director Chris Rider said ‘‘tight processes’’ were in place around asbestos management at schools.

‘‘We find asbestos from time to time during construction work,’’ he told 612 ABC Brisbane.

‘‘We’re on top of this and in control of it … everything is perfectly safe at Graceville.’’

Authorities are conducting air and soil tests at the school.

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Asbestos found on Graceville school oval

Asbestos found at Ipswich PCYC

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asbestos,

ipswich pcyc

Asbestos found at Ipswich PCYC

THE hazardous material asbestos has been found at an Ipswich community facility used by children.

Suspect material was found under an “unused” stage at the Ipswich PCYC on Griffith Rd in May and isolated as a precaution after the advice from an asbestos removal company.

A sample was taken for analysis and lab results confirmed the presence of asbestos on sheeting at the PCYC on July 16.

Parents are frustrated they were not informed about the finding.

One parent told The Queensland Times she received no notification from the PCYC and only learned about the asbestos discovery through a third party. And she said the area in question was occasionally used by children.

A PCYC spokesperson said advice from asbestos removalists suggested the material would not pose a danger if it was left undisturbed.

The area will remain sealed and isolated until the asbestos is removed.

Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association CEO Senior Sergeant Rob Fiedler said the asbestos is due to be removed on August 26.

Snr-Sgt Fielder said any parent, member or staff concerned by the find can contact the club manager for more information.

“The area is not part of the activities area and the isolation of the area has not caused any disruption to activities and the safety of members of the public or staff,” he said.

“In any case, an air clearance certificate will be provided to ensure the area is safe prior to completion of works.

“Activities at the club are not affected and we have taken the necessary precautions. Any parent, member or staff can contact the club manager.”

Snr-Sgt Fiedler said the asbestos removalists were booked in at the first available appointment.

If asbestos is disturbed it can release dangerous fine particles of dust containing potentially deadly asbestos fibres.

Asbestos can now only be removed by licensed operators.

The Ipswich PCYC first opened 45 years ago.

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Asbestos found at Ipswich PCYC

Telstra uncovers more asbestos-contaminated soil around Penrith pits

Telstra has discovered more asbestos in the soil around its telecommunications pits in Sydney’s west.

Last month, Telstra shut down its asbestos removal program at telecommunications pits around the country, after fears the community had been exposed to the deadly fibres during remediation work.

One of the sites first to be shut down was Penrith, where several residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

Telstra has now finished clean-up work at five pits in the area but after an inspection of 16 others, the company says it found more asbestos in the soil.

Telstra says 11 other pits in the area will be cleaned up tomorrow.

In a statement, the telco said it could not be sure the asbestos came from its pits.

A review by Telstra this month found key contractors required more supervision and improved supplies.

Telstra’s chief operations officer Brendon Riley says Telstra will ensure mandatory standards are met all staff.

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Telstra uncovers more asbestos-contaminated soil around Penrith pits