Snow park developer must remove asbestos, EPA says

The U.S. Environmental Protection Service (EPA) has ordered a Boise, Idaho ski and snowboard park developer to comply with federal law and remove asbestos from the Lazy J Tavern complex, which is being demolished.

In January 2014, developer Gateway Parks, owned by Ryan Neptune, purchased the Lazy J land parcel. The land is adjacent to the property where Gateway Parks operates a snowboard and tubing park and would be a part of the company's expansion. In May 2014 Gateway Parks hired a consultant to perform asbestos inspections on the site before demolition. The consultant discovered asbestos and submitted a bid to begin the abatement and removal processes, but the developer declined.

Gateway Parks began to demolish buildings in mid- to late-2014, without removing the asbestos or notifying the EPA, as dictated by federal law.

In late December 2014 the EPA received a public complaint and began an investigation into the site. According to their findings, asbestos materials were left in the buildings and the resulting debris piles were contaminated.

The recently served an asbestos abatement Compliance Order that demands that Gateway Parks clean up all debris from the demolished buildings in accordance with federal asbestos disposal regulations, and to follow the law in all future demolitions. Gateway Parks has 60 days to comply and inform the EPA when the cleanup is complete.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that naturally occurs in rocks and soil. It was used in building materials for its tensile strength, fireproofing and insulation properties. However, asbestos exposure has since been linked to an increased likelihood for lung disease or cancer. When asbestos-containing buildings are demolished, the fibers are released into the air and can be inhaled by workers and residents in the area.

Working with environmental consultants, as Gateway Parks initially did, is a good way to ensure that all federal and state regulations are being followed during demolition operations.