Staff report

AYER — An asbestos removal company faces a $28,500 penalty because the state says they violated regulations during a project at an occupied Ayer residence, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Air Safe, Inc. of Chelsea has agreed to pay the penalty stemming from an October 2017 state compliance inspection.

According to MassDEP, Air Safe employees left asbestos-containing insulation on heating pipes and a window sill after the project was completed despite being required to clean up and decontaminate all affected parts of the home’s basement.

For asbestos, a carcinogen, state regulations require sealing off of the area and using air filtration until no visible debris remains in the work area, according to the press release.

“These requirements are designed to prevent a release of asbestos fibers to the environment to protect building occupants and the general public from exposure to asbestos fibers and to preclude other parts of the building from being contaminated,” according to the release.

David Walsh, owner of the Air Safe, Inc. of Chelsea, said the company believes there was no wrongdoing, but settled with the state “for expediency and expense” on the recommendation of their attorneys.

Walsh said the company has since changed its procedures and dismissed the person overseeing the project to “to make sure we don’t look suspect to any procedures the (MassDEP) would have an issue with.”

When asked about the response, MassDEP spokesman Ed Coletta said the company signed the disposition order detailing the violation and agreed to pay the penalty.

“They signed the agreement,” he said.

Under the terms of the settlement, Air Safe will pay $18,000 of the penalty. The additional $10,500 will be held for a year and charged if the company has further violations, according to the release.