After lengthy negotiations, Marco Island’s asbestos-laced nightmares are over.
On Thursday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it had entered into an administrative consent agreement with both the City of Marco Island and Quality Enterprises USA.
The agreement settles allegations that the city and the company violated the Clean Air Act and the federal asbestos regulations, known as the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos.
According to a statement released by the EPA Thursday afternoon, under the agreement Marco Island and Quality Enterprises agreed to pay a penalty of $81,722.
Meanwhile, in accordance with a separate agreement between the city and Quality Enterprises, Quality will pay the entire penalty.
The alleged violations occurred during the city’s Collier Boulevard road-widening and sewer and drinking water pipe installation project that began in 2005. The city and construction firm were found by the EPA to have improperly handled toxic asbestos-containing cement pipe on Marco several years ago.
The agreement was finalized on Wednesday, the release said.
The news was welcomed by Marco Island City Council Chairman Frank Recker.
“We knew this was coming,” said Recker adding that city leaders had been working with the EPA to resolve the issue. “We are certainly delighted that it is now behind us.”
In May, leaders from Marco Island and Quality Enterprises flew to Atlanta to negotiate a settlement with the EPA. They sought to avoid hefty fines from the EPA.
Cleanup actions were completed in accordance with the work plans in May 2007, April 2008 and November 2008 respectively.
Subsequent confirmatory soil sampling did not indicate the presence of any remaining asbestos fibers, said EPA spokeswoman Dawn Harris-Young in the statement.
Recker added that the EPA sent the city a letter, confirming there were no limitations or restrictions to the use of the property.
“In my mind that equates a clean bill of health (for the park),” he said.
Under the Consent Agreement, the city and Quality have certified that they are in compliance with all relevant requirements of the asbestos regulations.
The alleged violations of the asbestos regulations included:
• Failure to conduct a thorough inspection for asbestos prior to the excavation of asbestos-containing cement piping
• Failure to provide timely written notification to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection prior to beginning the construction project
• Failure to remove the excavated asbestos-containing piping prior to conducting construction activity that would break up, dislodge or disturb the asbestos material
• Failure to adequately wet and keep wet the excavated asbestos-containing piping until disposed
• Failure to have on-site a supervisor properly trained in the asbestos regulations
• Failure to properly dispose of the excavated asbestos-containing piping and asbestos-contaminated debris as soon as practical.