have developed four scenarios where you
may identify yourself in a "normal" situation
where you are unaware of the existence of
regulations and the potential fines you
may be exposed to. The two last scenarios
actually occurred and are jobs we were involved
with. Feel free to contribute with your
own stories of potential or real situations.
If your story is published you will receive
GUESS YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL FINES
Mr. Merrygoround owns
a house and four months ago he hired a licensed
general contractor, Mr. Jose Fernandez,
to do a small renovation job in his house.
He removed your old leaking roof, put a
new roof on, removed some drywall, and installed
new drywall and replaced old heating air
ducts. The owner paid him and both walked
off happy. To save money, he decided to
wait with the waste disposal until a neighbor
was doing a renovation. He was going to
split the cost of a waste dumpster to save
money. The neighbor brought in the dumpster
and you used his old pickup truck to move
the waste over to the dumpster. The waste
was in the dumpster for a month when a neighbor
smelled something bad and called the local
Air Pollution Control District, (EPA) to
check on the reported "bad smell". The inspector
came out, he looked around, and looked in
to the dumpster. Everything smelled good
at this time, however, he picked up suspicious
pieces of building material, placed the
pieces in small plastic sample bags, and
had them analyzed for asbestos. The inspector
was asked what he was doing there. He was
told that the debris came from the other
house. The inspector told the owner that
he violated a number of regulation because
he found some suspect asbestos debris in
the dumpster. Pending the test of the samples
you were going to be fined for all the violations.
What is your maximum fine
if the test shows that asbestos is present
in the waste?
The waste was in the dumpster
for 30 days, and in your backyard for 120
out what the fine was.
Mr. Nomore Money, own
a two story commercial building, with stores
on the ground floor and offices on the second
floor. The property manager told the handy
man in the building to cut a hole between
the ground floor and the second floor. The
hole was supposed to be 4' in square and
should fit a stairway. This would make it
possible for the store manager on the ground
floor to go to the office without going
around the building. The stairs were installed,
and the area was cleaned. The cut out floor
debris was thrown in the rear of the building
and left there until someone realized the
value of the old wood floor, and stole most
of it. Six months later, an EPA inspector
on his way to lunch, parked in the rear
of Mr. No Money's building. He discovered
some suspect building debris. The inspector
took a sample for testing and found it to
be asbestos. The materials came from the
asbestos padding between the two layers
of wood floor boards. The building owner,
Mr. Money was prosecuted and fined.
out what the fine was.
GUESS THE COST TO FIX THE PROBLEM
In the following examples
we have assumed that there will be no governmental
agency involved. Guess the total repair
cost including environmental cleanup.
In an occupied office
building on the 6th floor, a water pipe
burst and causes water damage. The plumber
had to tear up the ceiling to get to the
pipe. He removed 3 linear feet of the insulation
and put a temporary seal on the pipe. He
installed drying fans to get rid of all
the water. An employee was concerned about
the potential presence of asbestos in the
pipe insulation. The insulation that now
was spread throughout the repair area, and
had been tracked by workers throughout the
office area and down the stairs.
What was the cost to fix this
Explanation of cleanup cost.
The water leak turned
out to be a self-growing problem. The pipe
insulation was an asbestos containing material.
The entire floor was shut down. The carpets
could not be cleaned and had to be pulled
up and disposed of as contaminated waste.
To be able to pull the carpet, all furniture
and office equipment had to be decontaminated,
and removed from the floor. Some items could
not be cleaned and had to be disposed of
as contaminated waste. When all the furniture
were removed, the carpet was pulled up,
and the underlying old floor tiles that
were attached to the carpet had to be removed
as well. The floor tiles turned out to be
asbestos containing. The underlying mastic
that glued the floor tiles to the floor
had to be removed as well and was also asbestos
out what the repair cost was.
Hazardous Material in the Creek?
A landowner decided to
fill his property with construction debris
to level the land. He contacted a trucking
firm who agreed to transport cement and
other construction debris to his property.
The debris was used to fill the rear property
along the creek to enlarge the flat part
of the property. The owner who was the Mayor
of the city failed to secure a permit. The
regional Water Quality Control Board, the
Air Pollution Control District, the Department
of Wildlife and Game, the Department of
Toxic Substance Control, the EPA and other
agencies got involved and required the owner
to remove all materials that was used to
fill up the property.
out what the cost to remove the debris was.