DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The city of Dothan has agreed to pay a fine to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for possible asbestos exposure after demolishing five structures, without getting a proper inspection first.
According to ADEM, the city failed to get an asbestos inspection on a former business on West Burdshaw Street, which is right next to the former Moody Hospital Building, and four former residential houses located leading to that $3,000 fine.
ADEM regulations state anyone doing an asbestos removal project needs to be certified by the department.
“We tore down one building a commercial building and some residential buildings so they consider that a part of a commercial project and deemed it where we should have done a survey on those residential buildings as well,” Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba said.
According to the report, ADEM considers these violations to be serious. The agency said the city did not have an asbestos inspection conducted by an Alabama Accredited Asbestos Inspector on all structures, and failure to submit the required notification could have caused possible harm to the environment and people nearby.
“It’s all well contained and the material was handled by machinery and hauled off,” Saliba said.
The report adds the city failing to have the required inspection risked exposing its employees, contractors, and other individuals to asbestos. However, the city had no prior history of these types of violations and ADEM said there were some efforts by the city to mitigate possible effects of these violations upon the environment.
The city claims they got an inspection for two of its building the Sheffield and Michael Brown Buildings and didn’t know they needed an inspection for the others.
“It was a misunderstanding but we are glad and willing to comply with ADEM,” Saliba said.
The mayor claims this is just a simple misunderstanding and says people in the neighborhood shouldn’t be worried. However, the people in the neighborhood believe this is a reason to be concerned and tell WDHN they are all for development but want to make sure it’s not causing harm.