Plaistow firm fined for improper asbestos handling

JAMES NIEDZINSKIStaff Photo A truck belonging to All State Abatement Professionals Inc. is parked outside the Wilder Drive business. The business owner can no longer store asbestos on site, something he had been doing since 2003.

PLAISTOW — Town officials have ordered a business owner to stop bringing asbestos into town, something he's been doing for more than a decade.

In a separate incident, All State Abatement Professionals Inc. was fined $46,150 Wednesday by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for improper handling of asbestos.

Owner J. Scott Curley is facing problems in Plaistow because the town didn't know he was storing asbestos at his business. The town requires a permit to store hazardous materials.

The state requires a similar solid waste license, something he is applying for now, according to N.H. Department of Environmental Services spokesman James Martin.

Although Curley has operated the business on Wilder Drive for 13 years, Martin said, he has never had the required abatement permit.

The state isn' taking any action against Curley, Martin said, because he has applied for a permit.

"We have no enforcement violations at the moment that we're following up on," Martin said.

New state regulations took effect in July, Martin said, that require asbestos abatement contractors to list materials they have on site. Those regulations also require the contractor to notify the town when a permit application is filed.

That's how town officials found out, according to building inspector Michael Dorman.

He said he inspected the business on Wilder Drive about two weeks.

"He obviously is storing asbestos on site," Dorman said.

On Monday, Dorman issued an order saying no asbestos could be stored on site.

"He didn't know he needed to notify the town," Selectmen's Chairman Steve Ranlett said.

But Curley said when he bought the property in 2003, he notified town officials he would be dealing with asbestos.

"I've been here 13 years," he said. "The Dumpster has been here 13 years."

All State Abatement Professionals provides asbestos removal services.

Once his company has removed asbestos, Curley said, it's properly handled.

"It's sealed, it's labeled, it's placed in drums," he said, "then it goes into this Dumpster."

The Dumpster is lined, padlocked and under constant surveillance, Curley said. It's emptied once a month at a landfill, he said.

It was improper handling of asbestos that got Curley into trouble in the Bay State.

During an investigation in Burlington Dec. 9, DEP investigators found asbestos was not wet prior to removal, as required. Asbestos fibers can become airborne if not wet.

DEP found All State didn't isolated the work area, sealed bags improperly and didn't label them.

Curley's business was penalized $46,150. He has to pay $10,500 within 120 days. If he remains free from further violations for the 12 following months, he won't have to pay the remaining $35,650.

His problems in Massachusetts shouldn't affect things in New Hampshire, Curley said.

"I don't see it being a problem," he said. "It has nothing to do with the state of New Hampshire and having a waste storage Dumpster,"

A Lawrence company was fined, too, for work at the same job site in Burlington, according to DEP.

Cruz Abatement and Contracting of Lawrence also was penalized $46,150 — $10,000 payable within 120 days and $36,150 suspended.

"Preventing asbestos fibers from becoming airborne is essential and failure like this is not acceptable," said Eric Worrall, director of the DEP's northeast regional office in Wilmington. 

Despite the problems in both states, Curley said he's still in business. He stores asbestos on job sites, rather than bringing it to Plaistow.

"It hasn't stopped me from working," he said Wednesday.

Curley has a meeting Wednesday with the Planning Board, Ranlett said, then one with selectmen April 20 about his permit application.

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