Anonymous Tip Leads to Discovery of Asbestos at Development Site

Plans for the demolition and redevelopment of a former nurse’s dormitory in Moline , Illinois , have been put on hold after an anonymous tip about the presence of asbestos in the old building prompted the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to intervene. The demolition, originally scheduled for the summer of 2007, was ordered stopped after the EPA investigated the allegation and found asbestos containing materials in the building.
In September of 2007, the EPA sent a violation notice to the building’s owner, Moline Place Development LLC, citing the developer for violating the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants, the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, and regulations concerning the handling and disposal of asbestos-containing waste materials. The agency ordered the developer to retain a contractor to design and submit an asbestos removal plan, an order which the agency reports has not been obeyed. In March of 2008, the EPA filed a notice to proceed with legal action, giving the developer 30 days to comply or face further legal consequences. A Moline city administrator said that time period had expired, but that it was not certain what the next legal steps would be.

The Illinois EPA is obliged to provide notice of any intention to file charges with the state attorney general’s office before actually filing charges; such notification has not yet been sent. If the developer does file a remediation plan with the EPA and it is accepted, the work is supposed to begin immediately. However, although the Illinois EPA says that it is working with the developer to facilitate the drafting of such a plan, there has been no confirmation that the developer has hired a licensed contractor to perform the work. The city of Moline has stayed out of the conflict to date, after being advised by the EPA to be cautious in its involvement. The Moline city administrator said “If we order the property owner do certain things and those actions result in further disturbance of the asbestos, we could be financially responsible for the cleanup.” The city still has a relationship with the developer, but contact is intermittent, according to the administrator. “We’d like to see the asbestos removed and the building demolished. We all would have liked to see that done by now. My hope is the developer could remediate the asbestos issue and prepare the building so the IEPA could release it,” he said. The plans for the redevelopment of the contaminated nurse’s dormitory include the construction of almost 60 homes, six villas, and 12 fourplex condominium units, according to plans filed with the city. Construction cannot begin until the asbestos hazard is remediated and the former dormitory is demolished.