Washington Residents Demand Answers; Asbestos Found in Rental Buildings

Residents of a large apartment building were outraged this past Saturday at a town hall meeting in Alexandria, Washington. After a renovation project uncovered that their building was littered with asbestos, they demanded to know why it took city officials three months to stop the project.

The Hunting Point on the Potomac building, a 530-unit building previously known as Huntington Towers, was undergoing renovations when orders from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) halted the work last week. Not only did inspectors find asbestos in the windows, doors, and floors, but it was also determined that the workers weren’t following the mandatory safety requirements.

The EPA made at least four inspections this year to the 63-year-old building. On each occasion, EPA officials found dried and crumbling asbestos all over the inside of the apartments, in trash cans, and in the areas where windows and tiles were being replaced. Additionally, there was no supervisor in attendance to watch over the project and none of the workers were certified to handle and work around asbestos.

More than 100 residents of the building gathered at the town meeting at the Alexandria Lee Building, demanding to know why the EPA and the city of Alexandria took three months to stop the project.

“The thing I find most disconcerting is it was necessary for a resident to bring this to your attention. I’d like to know where the town of Alexandria was,” said building resident Doug Meckes.

Another resident added in that they don’t want their health at risk because the owners failed to do their jobs.

“All the units should be sampled. I live there. I don’t want my health compromised,” resident Crystal Kirby said.

The owners of the building replied by stating that they had no idea that asbestos was present in the building. Once they were told of the problems, they immediately stopped the work. Yet, state law mandates that buildings must be inspected and improved by certified asbestos professionals before a renovation project can begin.

For the past year, residents have been complaining about the risk of lead paint and asbestos inhalation during the renovation project. However, the residents stated that the city never took their complaints seriously.

The building owners now face fines that may be imposed by the city for safety violations. In addition, should any resident or worker develop an asbestos-related illness due to exposure, they may also face mesothelioma lawsuits.

Remember, if you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos because of the negligent behaviors of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. You’ll need an experienced mesothelioma lawyer by your side to ensure your legal rights are met. Contact our leading mesothelioma law firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/hunting-point-renters-seek-answers-to-asbestos-contamination-at-their-buildings/2014/04/05/c571dab8-bc11-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

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