The tenants of Spring Gate Apartments in Rockland, Massachusetts, thought they were leaving their homes for 10 days while the complex installed “bathroom upgrades.” Now, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is investigating whether the “bathroom upgrades” were really an asbestos removal project.
According to the DEP, potential violations at Spring Gate Apartments include improper containment of asbestos and of “asbestos-containing debris outside the work area that was exposed to ambient air.”
Boston, like many older cities, has buildings constructed decades ago when many construction materials utilized asbestos. When those asbestos fibers are disturbed, there is a risk for dangerous exposure. Because of that risk, any asbestos removal work must be approved by the DEP before work can begin, and the work must use certified asbestos inspectors and abatement professionals.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, even repair work which may cause accidental disturbing of asbestos (such as working on a fixture near a ceiling that has asbestos surfacing or removing thermal insulation to repair a pipe leak) must be performed only by specially trained and accredited asbestos professionals.