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Iowa contractor fined $40K for Washington High asbestos removal

The settlement concludes a 2019 lawsuit over improper asbestos removal from Washington High School during renovations.
Credit: Adobe Stock
A pair of safety goggles and a mask rest next to a pile of asbestos

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A Cedar Rapids contractor will pay $40,000 as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought over improper asbestos removal from Washington High School during renovations in 2014 and 2015. 

The Gazette reports that a Linn County judge signed the order Monday to resolve a 2019 lawsuit the state of Iowa brought against Abatement Specialties. The lawsuit accused the company of failing to thoroughly inspect for and remove asbestos before the renovations, among other things. 

Officials have said an anonymous tip about asbestos-filled debris lying in the school hallways during the renovation led to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigation that found asbestos fibers in air samples at the school.

The DNR investigation showed, according to the Gazette, that communication and oversight problems led to the release of asbestos into the air, possibly exposing more than 100 construction workers to the carcinogen.