Idaho Transportation Department Settles With EPA For Exposing Inmate Laborers to Asbestos Waste

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The Idaho Transportation Department has agreed to settle with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for alleged violations of asbestos regulations.

In April 2013, ITD hired inmates at the St. Anthony Idaho Work Camp, a division of the Idaho Department of Correction, to remove approximately 460 feet of flooring tiles at an ITD maintenance station in Rigby using mechanical chippers and buffers. Waste from this project had been contaminated with asbestos, which was placed in a trash dumpster—a violation of asbestos disposal protocols. The material was then removed from the site to a landfill unapproved to handle asbestos waste. The EPA was notified of the incident by a worker and supervisor on the job site.

The workers had not been trained in asbestos handling or disposal, and accepted methods of waste disposal were not used.

The last asbestos test performed on the site took place in July 1989, and a single sample taken during that examination tested negative for the noxious material. However, industry standards indicate that such exams include multiple tests. After learning of the EPA's allegations seven months after the alleged incident, the ITD hired a consultant to perform an independent test, during which two-thirds of samples taken by the consultant tested positive for asbestos.

In the settlement, released July 9, ITD has agreed to pay a $55,800 penalty. As part of that settlement, ITD neither admits nor denies allegations made by the EPA.


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