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Allegheny County Health Department Takes Enforcement Action Related to Asbestos Abatement & More

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) periodically updates its website with recent Air Quality Program enforcement actions. That docket can be viewed here

These are the latest entries, with violations related to asbestos abatement, failure to report an equipment breakdown, and air quality permit infractions.

Asbestos Abatement Violations

Before we tell you about the latest violations, we wanted to make sure you understood what the rules related to asbestos actually are. 

Allegheny County Health Department’s rules require an asbestos survey (a thorough inspection to determine the presence of asbestos) for all renovation and demolition projects and depending on the quantity of asbestos identified, proper notification, specific work practices, and proper disposal of asbestos-containing material are required. 

The notification requirements for facility demolition and renovation activities are dependent upon the amount of asbestos-containing (ACM) material at the site. 

If less than 160 square feet of ACM is identified in the facility, a properly completed notification must be submitted 10 days before demolition or renovation activity begins. If the amount of ACM is 160 square feet or more, a properly completed permit application must be submitted with appropriate payment at least 10 working days before the asbestos abatement begins. 

A licensed asbestos contractor must remove all ACM identified as described in the permit. Demolition or renovation activities may proceed once ACHD has performed a final clearance inspection.

But back to those enforcement actions – ACHD issued notices of violation recently against:

  • The City of Pittsburgh, Deller Professional Services, General Contracting Corp. Schaaf Excavating and Unis Demolition Co. on Nov. 10 for various asbestos-related violations. The enforcement order assessed a $38,500 civil penalty. The violations stem from the demolition of various blighted properties without the proper asbestos clearances. You can read the entire enforcement action here.
  • Community College of Allegheny County (Boyce Campus) on Nov. 21 for the unauthorized removal of containment barriers and reopening to the public an area being abated for asbestos-containing material. The contractor responsible for the abatement work was CSI construction. You can read the entire enforcement action here.
  • Deller Professional Services on Dec. 14 for removing containment barriers while demolishing a property located at 6338 Shetland Street in Pittsburgh prior to ACHD completing a final inspection. You can read the entire enforcement action here.
  • Kevin Fisher on Dec. 14 for renovating a property located at 5401 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh and removing potential asbestos-containing material before obtaining an asbestos survey. You can read the entire enforcement action here.
  • West Deer Township and CSI Construction on Nov. 9 for failing to complete proper air sampling, conducting abatement activity without proper public signage, and for the unauthorized removal of containment barriers. All of these violations were related to renovations at three residential properties in the municipality. You can read the entire enforcement action here.
  • ACHD on Dec. 22 issued a scheduling order in the high-profile case against Churchill Community Development and Paradigm Consultants and its chief executive Vikas Jain. Jain in October 2019 pleaded guilty to illegally dumping asbestos-containing material generated during the renovation of the former George Westinghouse Research and Technology Park in Churchill Borough. Jain had been charged with one count of knowingly violating work practice standards of the Clean Air Act following an investigation by the FBI and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The order scheduled an administrative hearing for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 23 and Feb. 24. You can read more about the case here and here.

Breakdown Report Violation

ACHD on Dec. 10 issued a notice of violation to Neville Island-based INEOS Composites US LLC located at 2650 Neville Road for failure to timely report a breakdown of air pollution-control equipment. By way of background: The company manufactures and sells a broad range of unsaturated polyester and vinyl ester resins.

INEOS on Aug. 26 provided written notice of a breakdown of its Polyester Resin Plant Thermal Oxidizer because of a power outage. The time of the breakdown, though, was from 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Aug. 21. 

For those who might not be aware: Allegheny County Air Pollution rules require operators responsible for emissions-control equipment to report breakdowns within an hour of them commencing. Written notification of breakdowns is required no later than seven days following the incident.

The Nov. 9 notice of violation noted:

“The breakdown was not called into the ACHD. In a subsequent communication, an INEOS representative stated that the breakdown was inadvertently called to an incorrect ACHD telephone number; however, no record of such call is available. The ACHD was not notified of the breakdown until the written notification was received.”

You can read the entire enforcement action here.

Title V Air Quality Permit Bookkeeping Violation Noted

ACHD issued a notice of violation against Indianola-based Buckeye Terminal LLC for failing to timely submit its annual Certificate of Compliance as required by its Title V air quality operating permit. You can read the entire enforcement action here.

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