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Columbia Sues Local Contractors Over Asbestos Removal

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Columbia International University has filed a federal suit against local contractors after they failed to properly remove asbestos in buildings owned by the university.

Columbia is suing the contractor Environmental Engineering Company Inc.; its parent company, RPR & Associates Inc.; and paint contractor Hyde Drywall & Paint Inc. The amount of money Columbia is suing for has not been made available.

According to a project manager at the university, David Ratchford, the contractors were hired in the 80s to do some renovations on at least 6 different buildings.

Ratchford said, “They took the material out and they put a material back in that was loaded with asbestos.”

Asbestos issues were found during 2007 inspections of the buildings. All students have been notified and told that there are no immediate health threats.

The lawsuit states that the inspections found, “damaged friable or non-friable asbestos” that the defendants “either recklessly or gross negligently installed or recklessly or gross negligently failed to remove.” The suit also alleges that the contractors failed to use asbestos free paints and now asbestos is being allowed to escape into the air.

So far the university’s asbestos cleanup plan has hit one building and already cost more than 0,000. They plan to continue cleanup on 5 more buildings as soon as the university has the money