EPA accuses the DDRA of 11 asbestos-related violations of the Clean Air Act

17 Sep 2014 by under News

EPA logo 100x100 EPA accuses the DDRA of 11 asbestos related violations of the Clean Air ActThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is waging war against Alabama’s Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DDRA) after the agency sent a letter alleging that the demolition of the Saints Apartments had resulted in 11 violations of the Clean Air Act. According to the letter, which was dated Aug. 20, the allegations were related to the Saints Apartments’ removal and demolition of its two separate buildings.

Aside from highlighting the 11 citations, the letter also gives DDRA a chance to respond to its accusations by ways of a teleconference or in-person meeting, although no date had been set as of Monday.

, the director of the DDRA, released the letter publicly to the Dothan Eagle. The violations vary from failure to provide written notice of intent to renovate the apartments to failure to describe the renovation methods used to remove the asbestos at the apartments. The most serious accusation involves a contractor who claimed to have determined the asbestos material abated to be non-friable, meaning that it cannot be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by the pressure of the human hand. However, the EPA has found that the material was, indeed, friable and entirely different removal techniques should have been utilized during the removal.

Asbestos-containing materials are required by law to be specially removed and contained to prevent the microscopic cancer-causing fibers from escaping, which protects both workers and the public at large. When asbestos fibers are released through demolition, the fibers may be inhaled or ingested. This is tied to the development of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that typically affects the lining of the lungs or the abdomen. In order to protect those in harm’s way, asbestos-laden debris must also be properly disposed of in a facility designed to handle the toxic waste, in accordance with EPA regulations.

Garry Pearson, the contractor responsible for the 2013 removal of asbestos from the Saints Apartments, believes the EPA is incorrect in its analysis of the situation.

“There is no danger. Nothing other than grinding or sawing would get any fibers into the air,” Pearson told the Dothan Eagle.

Tidmore also believes that all procedures used in the asbestos removal and demolition of the Saints Apartments was done safely and correctly.

“We still feel confident we went above and beyond,” Tidmore said Monday. “We hired a qualified contractor that has done work all over the state and even for the state. We do understand, however, that when a complaint is filed the government must do its due diligence. We plan to cooperate fully,” Tidmore added.

John Newton, a Dothan resident and husband of former Historic Preservation Commission member Sam Newton, believed that the apartment buildings were part of Dothan’s historic district and more should have been done to ensure the public’s safety during demolition.

“My chief concern with the DDRA action on Saints Apartments is the apparent flagrant and negligent disregard for the public safety of citizens,” Newton said. “They should have considered erring on the side of safety.”

As much as $37,500 may be charged against DDRA per day of violation if the penalties are confirmed.

Dothan Eagle


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