Asbestos Violations at Waterbury State Office Complex

Published 08/21 2014 07:02PM

Updated 08/21 2014 07:15PM

WATERBURY, Vt. – Several asbestos related violations at the Waterbury State Office Complex were made public after a records request from FOX 44.

Records from the Environmental Protection Agency show oversights in storing and transporting asbestos from the under construction state office complex.

Chris Crothers is a contractor with Crothers Environmental hired to help in the asbestos abatement. After the errors, made by a different company, he was put in charge of monitoring asbestos removal.

“Asbestos is a known carcinogen and a danger when an individual would inhale the asbestos virus,” Crothers said.

There were seven contracted companies helping remove asbestos. One of them, NCM, made several mistakes that set the project back.

“I don't know why they chose to do it in that manner but it was very costly,” Crothers said.

Pictures from December 2013 show asbestos found in “A Building”. EPA regulations require those materials be properly sealed and spayed with water to prevent the material from becoming airborne. That didn't happen.

Documents show workers were exposed to the hazard but Crothers and project manager Mike Stevens say only individuals trained to handle asbestos were exposed.

The building had already been cleaned but needed a second abatement. According to Stevens none of that was paid for by the taxpayers.

But it wasn't NCM's only oversight. A truck containing asbestos that needed to be inspected never returned to the site to be checked.

“There was a series of three strikes and you're out. And the third strike would have been removal from the job site,” Stevens said about NCM.

Stevens says NCM improved after that and they've completed their contract with the state.

We've also learned an investigation by the Vermont Department of Labor, specifically VOSHA, did not lead to any citations for NCM.

But the EPA's case is still open and an investigator told us that fines for violations are still possible for both NCM and the state.

“It is a concern. These types of violations aren't acceptable,” Stevens said.

NCM did not return our calls for comment.

Our public records request to the Vermont Department of Health was declined. In a response to our request an official wrote the documents were exempt because they might be relevant to litigation.

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