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MYRTLE POINT — A local environmental cleanup firm has been hit with a penalty for allegedly improperly handling asbestos at Myrtle Point High School.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a penalty of $4,800 to Koos Environmental last month, an asbestos abatement contractor out of Coos Bay, for failing to properly wet friable asbestos material during a summer recess asbestos removal project at the high school.

They were also cited for failing to use a negative pressure enclosure during the removal of asbestos pipe insulation. The project required use of this system to reduce the risk of asbestos fibers releasing into the air.

When material containing asbestos was not wetted, the DEQ says the company risked exposing workers to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

This week, Koos Environmental appealed DEQ’s citation and will soon meet with state staff to discuss options for resolving the penalty.

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