judges' mallet and books

A Florida land development company filed an appeal with the state of Oregon seeking to overturn a nearly $75,000 fine related to the improper clean-up of asbestos-containing debris from a trailer court damaged during last year’s wildfires.

Tampa-based Bach Development disputes the allegations from Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The state contends that Bach Development’s workers removed and packaged asbestos-containing debris late last year stemming from the Almena fire that ravaged parts of southern Oregon in September. The DEQ said the company performed the job without having the proper license to remove the asbestos-containing materials.

State says company knew of violations

The attorney for Bach Development disputes the DEQ’s findings, adding that the company relied on sample results claiming no asbestos was present in the debris. However, the state stands by its decision, contending that Bach Development knew about the rule violations pertaining to handling asbestos and chose not to follow them.

The state contends the company also erred in not informing officials at the disposal site regarding the amount of debris and did not receive the site’s permission to bring the waste. The DEQ and Bach Development have tentative plans in May to meet and, perhaps, negotiate a settlement.

The Almena fire led to the destruction of more than 1,000 mobile homes in 18 different parks. State and federally approved contractors conducted much of the clean-up.

However, the owners of a mobile home park near Medford hired Bach Development. The company’s workers reportedly removed the debris while people continued to live in 90 of the park’s mobile homes. Many building materials contain asbestos.

A matter like this can never be taken lightly. Asbestos is a known carcinogen. Inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to the development of mesothelioma decades after initial exposure. Annually, about 2,500 Americans die from mesothelioma.