A Portland, Oregon couple who didn’t think it was necessary to hire a licensed asbestos abatement professional to remove the toxic material from their older home now faces a fine of more than $21,000 for their negligence.
Not only did John Reilly and Jennifer Doherty-Reilly not bother to pay for the services of a licensed contractor, reported TV Channel KATU 2, but they also failed to obtain the permits required for asbestos removal, which would have given local authorities 10-days notice before the project commenced.
In addition, after the hazardous material was removed, the contractor left it out in the open and the homeowners made no effort to have it removed until they were reported to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
State officials released this statement in regards to the fine, which amounted to $21,600 after all fees were added together.
DEQ requires building owners and project managers to have an asbestos survey performed before a renovation or demolition. Such work can release asbestos fibers into the air and expose workers and the public to asbestos.
When released into the air, asbestos fibers are a respiratory hazard proven to cause lung cancer and other illnesses. There is no known safe level of exposure.
Any number of asbestos products may have been present inside and outside the Reilly’s home. Asbestos is a huge problem faced by renovators and, often, it’s found in more than one place.
Materials that may have contained asbestos include:
Unfortunately, homeowners who are embarking on renovation projects, as well as the contractors performing those renovations, may be likely to look for ways to save money on their project.
Skirting around asbestos laws is one of those ways…if they don’t get caught by concerned bystanders and reported to the authorities. Each year, local environmental agencies levy hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines against those who fail to understand that asbestos exposure is dangerous.
Before any demolition or renovations are initiated at a home or commercial building that was built prior to the late 1970s, an asbestos inspection should be performed by a licensed inspector.
This protects not only the homeowner but also the contractor’s employees and anyone who resides or works in the area where the asbestos removal is being tackled.
Often, contractors like the one hired by the Reillys, employ workers who are unaware that they’re being exposed to toxic materials. They may be working without masks or any other protective gear.
Anyone who notices this should inform the employees immediately as the unknowing workers may have grounds for taking legal action against their employer.