Asbestos violation
costs Fort Shafter

By Treena Shapiro

The Army will fund asbestos abatement at three Oahu schools as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency for asbestos removal violations at Fort Shafter in March 2000.

Subcontractor Precision Demolition and Construction Inc. also will be fined $26,400 for several violations of the Clean Air Act's standards for the hazardous air pollutant during the demolition of a building at the Fort Shafter Flats.

San Francisco-based EPA enforcement officer Bob Trotter said federal regulations hold both the property owner and the contractor responsible for asbestos violations.

The U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii at Fort Shafter will have to pay a minimum of $16,000 for asbestos abatement at three schools as its part of the penalty, Trotter said.

The three schools are tentatively listed as Kipapa Elementary, Campbell High School and Kaiser High School, according to the EPA.

"The EPA requires government agencies to follow laws for protecting human health and the environment," said Jack Broadbent, the EPA's air division director for the Pacific Southwest region.

"Children attending three schools in Hawaii will soon receive health benefits from the absence of asbestos building materials in their school."

According to the EPA complaint, the subcontractor failed to keep the asbestos-containing material adequately wet until it was collected for disposal. During collection, asbestos-containing materials were allegedly discharged into the open air.

Asbestos is a known environmental carcinogen that presents a serious health risk as a result of air emission, according to the EPA.

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