Iowa contractor to pay $40K in asbestos removal settlement

November 9, 2021 GMT

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Cedar Rapids contractor will pay $40,000 as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the state of Iowa over improper asbestos removal from Washington High School during renovations in 2014 and 2015.

A judge signed the order Monday to resolve a 2019 lawsuit the state brought against Abatement Specialties, The Gazette reported. The lawsuit accused the company of failing to thoroughly inspect for and remove asbestos before the renovations, among other things.

Officials have said an anonymous tip about asbestos-filled debris lying in the school hallways during the renovation led to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigation that found asbestos fibers in air samples taken at the school in 2015.

The DNR found both the Cedar Rapids Community School District and Abatement Specialties in violation of EPA asbestos regulations. The district settled with the state in 2017, agreeing to produce a video on asbestos requirements within schools and make the video available to other Iowa districts.

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“We cannot allow companies to willfully put Iowans, and in this case our students, at risk by skirting or ignoring these important measures,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a written statement Tuesday.

Abatement Specialties admitted to the violations as part of the settlement, according to the Attorney General’s Office.