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Environmental Enforcement Roundup – Pangea Ventures, United Water

Illinois EPA Refers Building Owner and Contractor to State Attorney General

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency director Doug Scott has asked the Illinois Attorney General’s office to proceed with enforcement action against Pangea Ventures and Amigos Construction, Inc. for the improper removal, handling, and disposal of regulated asbestos-containing material in an unoccupied apartment building in Chicago undergoing renovation.

The 24 unit Chicago apartment building owned by Pangea Ventures, LLC,  was inspected by the Illinois EPA and City of Chicago Department of the Environment.

Throughout the basements, the inspectors observed pipes that had been stripped of insulation, insulation on pipes in poor condition, pipes covered with insulation that had been cut and removed and insulation off pipes. The inspection showed the majority of the disturbed asbestos was located in the ground level basements. The Illinois EPA samples confirmed that the insulation contained asbestos matierials.

The Illinois EPA alleges that Pangea and its contractor, Amigos Construction, caused, threatened or allowed the discharge or emission of asbestos fibers into the environment due to the improper removal during renovation; they failed to thoroughly inspect the facility for the presence of asbestos containing materials prior to commencing renovation activities; and they failed to deposit asbestos containing waste material at an appropriate waste disposal site.

United Water Assessed $9,487 Penalty for Delayed Reporting of Chlorine Leak

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $9,487 penalty to United Water Environmental Services, Inc. for failing to provide notification of a release of chlorine gas to the environment within the proper timelines following a leak at a site in Devens.

On July 1, 2009, a 150-pound compressed chlorine gas cylinder located at the Shabokin Public Water System well house on Patton Road in Devens, leaked 56 pounds of chlorine gas to the ambient air. United Water, a Delaware-based corporation that operates drinking water treatment facilities in Massachusetts, delayed making notification to MassDEP, and failed to meet the two-hour regulatory timeframe for reporting the incident.

Since the release, United Water upgraded the system by replacing gas with liquid hypochlorite solution, conducted incident response training for all of its employees nationwide, and established a 24/7 emergency hotline number for employee use in case of future events.

“A timely notification to MassDEP is essential to minimize impacts from a release of hazardous materials to the environment,” Martin Suuberg, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester said in a statement. “United Water has taken important proactive steps to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring by training staff and changing the treatment process.”

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