By Frank Lewis
January 9, 2014
PDT Staff Writer
Cindy Charles, director of the Portsmouth Local Air Agency, has issued a notice of violation concerning work involving asbestos at the South Point Biomass Generation property in the South Point area. Charles said the Portsmouth Local Air Agency received a complaint of alleged demolition activity involving asbestos at the plant located at 100 Collins Road, in South Point. Demolition and renovation operations are subject to compliance with the National Emission Standards for Asbestos.
In a letter to Mark Harris at South Point Biomass Generation, Charles wrote, “On October 18, 2013, investigation of the above-referenced complaint found active demolition and metal scrapping work being conducted on the third floor of the power house building. PLAA inspectors observed suspect regulated asbestos containing materials (RACM) such as air cell, mag block, pipe wrap and galbestos asbestos materials on both the east and south sides of the power house building.”
She said samples of the material were collected on Oct. 22, 2013, and analysis confirmed the friable RACM was present at the site. In addition, the PLAA also determined two partial buildings attached to the south side of the power house building had been demolished and removed.
The Ohio Administrative Code “requires prior to the commencement of demolition or renovation of an affected facility, a thorough inspection for asbestos be conducted by a certified asbestos hazard evaluation specialist.” She cited additional violations within the framework of the asbestos removal, then informed the company within 14 days after receipt of the notice that the Portsmouth Local Air Agency is requesting the company submit a written plan describing the specific actions the company plans to take to comply with the requirements. That plan must also include a description of the measures the company will take to secure the site. The company is also to present to PLAA a summary of the demolition activities already completed including the type and quantity of materials already removed from the site, as well as copies of all completed waste shipment records for asbestos contaminated materials and the results of a complete asbestos survey of the power house building.”
The letter goes on to say that acceptance by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) of the information does not constitute a waiver of Ohio EPA’s authority to seek civil penalties as provided by the section of the Ohio Revised Code that deals with the issue. It then concludes with, “The determination to pursue or decline such penalties in this case will be made by Ohio EPA at a later date.
The PLAA notification may not be the company’s only problem. A story in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch says Lawrence County (Ohio) Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson is preparing to file a foreclosure action against the 88-acre Biomass property, because he says the company has not paid county taxes for the past three years. In the story, Anderson said the company owes $27,000 in back taxes and that his office will be filing foreclosure action this month.
A Daily Times call to the office of Mack Anderson of the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office was not immediately returned.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.