EPA May Fine Contractor $70,000
Last Friday, the federal Environmental Protection Agency officially asked for $70,355 in fines from McGovern's Floor Covering of Metacom Avenue. The EPA's civil complaint alleges that McGovern's employees did not take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of asbestos fibers when they installed new flooring in two classrooms at the church in August 2003.
Asbestos was allegedly spread when workers used a high speed sander/grinder on the existing asbestos floor without containing the dust. Church officials stopped the work when they noticed dust and hired an environmental consultant to test for asbestos. After tests came back positive, the building was cleaned up by a state-certified contractor.
EPA officials further allege that McGovern's failed to inspect for asbestos, provide proper notice to regulators of the presence of asbestos, have trained workers on site, properly dispose of asbestos waste and maintain asbestos disposal records.
Neither McGovern's attorney John La Terra Bellina, nor a woman who answered the phone at McGovern's Monday morning, would comment.
"This action should raise awareness of the risks involved in disturbing vinyl asbestos tile," said Robert W. Varney, the regional administrator of the EPA's New England office. "It is imperative that McGovern's and other flooring contractors thoroughly investigate whether asbestos or other hazardous materials are involved in their operations prior to commencing work."