EPA fines Idaho company for asbestos violations

Posted at 1:40 PM, Apr 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 00:28:44-04

The owner of a former ski hill located in Eagle, Idaho has been ordered to pay a $10,000 penalty after failing to notify the EPA about the demolition of asbestos-containing buildings in 2014.

The EPA claims that Gateway Parks LLC violated federal rules when it demolished the former Lazy J Tavern complex located off N. Horseshoe Bend Road.

Gateway Parks failed to notify EPA inspectors about the demolition which is required by law.

Inspectors would have checked on the building prior to the demolition to ensure that asbestos-containing materials would be properly handled and disposed of for the health of the public.

According to Director Ed Kowalski of the EPA’s Pacific Northwest Office of Compliance and Enforcement, the demolition ended up costing officials and Gateway Parks more money than if the rules had been followed.

“EPA’s asbestos rules require building owners and contractors to notify the EPA in advance of demolition projects and to use certified professionals to remove asbestos before demolition. When you fail to follow those procedures, your job site can become contaminated and put public health at risk from asbestos exposure,” Kowalski explained. “In a misguided effort to save money, Gateway Parks cut corners and unfortunately turned a $14,000 demolition into a $75,000 mess. In the end, we know it’s far less expensive, and much safer, to do this work the right way the first time.”

The land was originally purchased by Gateway Parks in 2014 to assist in expanding operations of a former ski hill located in the foothills behind the Eagle Sports Complex.

A consultant was hired several months later who determined that six of the eight buildings on the site contained asbestos. The consultant submitted a bid for asbestos abatement which was rejected by Gateway Parks.

The buildings were eventually demolished resulting in contaminated debris piles.

After a public complaint in December 2014, the EPA investigated and found the debris.

In April 2015, the EPA ordered Gateway Parks to clean up the debris and to follow safe work procedures for all pending and future demolition work.

Approximately 27 truckloads containing 945 cubic yards of materials were hauled away to a landfill to proper disposal which ultimately cost Gateway Parks more than $65,000 in addition to the $10,000 federal penalty. The debris was cleaned up by May 2015.

The company still operates a ski hill at Eagle Island State Park during the winter.