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A and E Salvage, Inc. Ordered to Cease Violations of Federal Asbestos Laws and to Clean Up Contamination at the former Liberty Fibers Rayon Plant in Morristown, TN

Release Date: 03/20/2009
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. – Mar. 20, 2009) On March 12, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an Immediate Compliance Order to A & E Salvage, Inc., its President, Elisa J. Guevara Smith, Vice-President Mark Sawyer, and other officers, directors and employees requiring them to cease violations of federal asbestos regulations and to clean up and properly dispose of asbestos contamination at the former Liberty Fibers Rayon plant in Morristown, Tenn. The Order alleges that A & E Salvage violated the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Asbestos under the Clean Air Act, and also violated the terms of a consent agreement entered into by A & E Salvage and EPA on Aug. 8, 2008. Under the agreement, A & E Salvage agreed to thoroughly inspect the property, and develop and carry out plans for removal and proper disposal of asbestos waste materials that had been improperly disposed around the facility.

In September 2006, A & E Salvage began conducting extensive salvage and demolition activities at the bankrupt Liberty Fibers plant. Most of the buildings, structures, associated piping and some of the salvaged and/or demolished equipment contained friable asbestos and non-friable asbestos that can be made friable during such operations. During salvaging and demolition activities, A & E improperly handled, stored, and disposed on-site asbestos-containing building waste materials in violation of the Asbestos NESHAP. Most of this waste material has been improperly stored in a building and disposed around the property in waste piles.

A & E Salvage violated the Asbestos NESHAP regulations by:

      failing to conduct a thorough inspection of the facility;
      failing to properly notify state officials of the work prior to beginning salvage/demolition operations;
      failing to keep all asbestos waste materials adequately wet at all times to prevent asbestos fiber release;
      failing to remove all asbestos-containing waste materials before conducting salvage and demolition work that broke up, dislodged and disturbed the materials and precluded access to the material for subsequent disposal;
      failing to properly dispose of asbestos- containing waste materials as soon as practical;
      failing to properly supervise workers who handled asbestos waste materials; and
      hiring workers who were not properly trained in asbestos abatement work, and allowing the workers to handle asbestos materials without proper protection against exposure to asbestos.
A & E Salvage’s violations of the Asbestos NESHAP have placed, and continue to place workers who handle asbestos materials without proper safety equipment, proper training and supervision, and others present at the facility during such activities, at a potentially serious risk of harm due to exposure to asbestos fibers.

On March 12, 2009, EPA rescinded and terminated the August 2008 consent agreement and issued the Immediate Compliance Order. The Order requires Liberty Fibers to cease any further activity at the facility that results in the handling of asbestos which may disturb, dislodge, break up, crush, or otherwise cause potential release and emissions of asbestos fibers, and to conduct activities that include, but are not limited to:

    Securing the facility against unauthorized access by persons who could come into contact with asbestos that is scattered around the property;
    Submitting Revised Bagged Asbestos Waste Disposal Plan;
    Submitting Report to EPA Describing Areas Where Asbestos Was Found/Disposed; and
    Submitting Work Plan for Disposal of Asbestos Found in Waste Piles and Buried On-Site
Airborne asbestos fibers, when inhaled into the lungs, can increase the risk of asbestosis, a debilitating lung disease, and may also increase risks for various types of cancers. EPA recognizes no safe level of exposure to airborne asbestos.

For more information about asbestos, visit:
http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/