Some people never learn. Every year, big corporations and small businesses alike try to save on asbestos removal costs by attempting to do the job themselves.
Granted, the services of trained and licensed asbestos abatement contractors aren’t cheap. When it comes to commercial and public buildings, charges can run anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, depending on where the asbestos is located and how much is found. Steve John, proprietor of Ocean Chevrolet in Santa Cruz, California, will pay $600,000 for trying to do it on his own. As is the case in most states, California has strict regulations governing the removal and disposal of asbestos, as do two coastal communities located an hour south of San Francisco. Steve John was sued by both Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties for willful disregard of those regulations. According to a news release from the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, John purchased a lot on Soquel Drive and 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz for a new auto dealership.
At the time, there were 18 buildings on the lot that contained asbestos as well as lead-based paint. The District Attorney alleged that John was aware of the presence of toxic substances and state regulations requiring their removal prior to demolition of the buildings yet went ahead and did the job anyway. Afterwards, he had the toxic waste taken to the Marina Landfill in nearby Monterey County. In settling the civil lawsuit filed by both counties, John was credited with $400,000 for remediation costs associated with the site. He will still have to pay $100,000 each to Monterey and Santa Cruz County for the violation. In addition, John is under a court order to henceforth adhere to all state and federal environmental regulations regarding the handling and disposal of hazardous waste, including asbestos.