Coakley sues over asbestos removal

Bryan Cohen Mar. 31, 2011, 1:00am


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Tuesday that a lawsuit has been filed against a Lawrence, Mass., company and its president for alleged violations of the Massachusetts Clean Air Act.

The lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, names Environmental Restoration Services Corporation and Jorge Elias, its president. The suit seeks civil penalties for violations of the Massachusetts Clean Air Act.

The defendants allegedly engaged in the illegal removal of asbestos-containing materials from the Gardner Senior Center during a conversion renovation in June 2009. The complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in this process without approval or authorization from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection or the city of Gardner's consultant.

"Asbestos is a dangerous material that when improperly removed can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time," Coakley said.

"Exposure to asbestos can create a serious health risk. It is extremely important that the proper removal and disposal procedures are followed to ensure the health and safety of the public and our office will aggressively pursue those who violate the laws."

The complaint also alleges that ERSC partially removed asbestos floor tiles from the basement and dumped the broken pieces and demolition debris into a 40 yard roll-off open top container in the senior center's parking lot. The defendants allegedly did not cover or contain, label, wet or seal the asbestos-contaminated demolition debris that was stored in the container, on the ground or in the parking lot, as required by law.

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