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EPA: Eagle snow park developer failed to properly remove asbestos

Jim Prescott’s Lazy J Tavern reached its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. In the ensuing decades, it fell into disrepair after the owner became ill. The property is adjacent to the Eagle Sports Park.
Jim Prescott’s Lazy J Tavern reached its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. In the ensuing decades, it fell into disrepair after the owner became ill. The property is adjacent to the Eagle Sports Park. rphillips@idahostatesman.com

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Gateway Parks to comply with federal law when it removes asbestos from the Lazy J Tavern complex, which is being demolished to make way for future snowboard park amenities.

In January 2014, Boise-based Gateway Parks, owned by Ryan Neptune, purchased the Lazy J parcel on Horseshoe Bend Road adjacent to Eagle Sports Complex where Gateway Parks operates a snowboard and tubing park.

Gateway Parks hired a consultant in May to perform asbestos inspections on eight buildings on the site to prepare for demolition of the buildings, according to an EPA news release. The consultant found asbestos and submitted a bid for abatement. Gateway Parks rejected the bid, and in mid- to late 2014, it demolished some of the buildings without safely removing the asbestos or notifying the EPA as required by federal asbestos law.

Because asbestos materials were left in the buildings when they came down, the resulting debris piles were contaminated with asbestos. EPA began an investigation after receiving a public complaint in late December.

EPA’s order requires Gateway Parks to clean up the contaminated debris from buildings already demolished in accordance with federal asbestos disposal requirements, and to follow all relevant laws and regulations for future demolitions on the property.

Gateway Parks must take immediate steps to control dust from the site. The company has 60 days to comply with the EPA's clean-up order.

More from the EPA on asbestos:

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that naturally occurs in rock and soil. It was historically used in building materials and in construction for its tensile strength, fireproofing, and insulation properties. When inhaled, microscopic asbestos particles can lodge deep in the lungs, increasing risks of developing lung disease or cancer. Health risks from asbestos exposure are often made worse by smoking. In general, the greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of developing harmful health effects, with disease symptoms often developing years after exposure.

Asbestos fibers may be released into the air when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or during product use, demolition work, building or home maintenance, repair or remodeling. Only trained and certified asbestos abatement professionals should handle, remove and safely dispose of asbestos containing materials in licensed landfills or other approved disposal facilities.

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