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Wildfire

Contractor Fined $74k For Mishandling Asbestos At Medford Mobile Home Park

On October 14, hazardous debris remained at Medford Estates. The park hired BACH Development to clear the debris. The contractor now faces state penalties for mishandling asbestos.
April Ehrlich | JPR News
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On October 14, hazardous debris remained at Medford Estates. The park hired BACH Development to clear the debris. The contractor now faces state penalties for mishandling asbestos.

Oregon environmental regulators are fining a contractor tens of thousands of dollars for mishandling hazardous wildfire debris at a mobile home park.

Florida-based contractor BACH Development faces a penalty of $74,469 for illegally clearing wildfire debris containing asbestos from a mobile home park in south Medford, where people were still living at the time.

The Almeda Fire destroyed much of the Medford Estates in September. People continued living at the 90 remaining homes in November as BACH Development workers cleared debris without an asbestos abatement license.

“Asbestos is a known carcinogen and there is no known safe level of exposure,” says Dylan Darling with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Darling says it’s difficult to determine whether residents should be concerned about their potential exposure to the cancer-causing toxin.

In a press release, Oregon DEQ says BACH Development tried taking the material to a nearby landfill, but it had failed to notify the landfill that it was bringing material containing asbestos.

Medford Estates is operated by Cal-Am Properties. The California-based corporation chose not to participate in the government-funded cleanup, and instead hired BACH Development in November.

Neither Cal-Am nor BACH representatives responded to requests for comment.

This is the first asbestos violation the state has issued in relation to last year’s wildfires. BACH has 20 days to appeal its penalty.

While BACH has a valid contractors license within Oregon, it doesn’t have a license to handle asbestos. Oregon DEQ has a list of contractors that do.