Department of Environment and Natural Resources Appropriate Regulatory Authority for Asbestos Violations

Earlier this year, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a notice of violation to an area construction company for failure to properly dispose of asbestos. According to the DENR findings, obtained by the City last week, the company failed to hire trained and certified asbestos workers. The findings further state that the company bagged asbestos and delivered it to the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill along with other construction debris but had not notified the landfill that the construction debris contained the sealed bags of asbestos. In its findings, the DENR referenced state and federal law.

The DENR holds comprehensive authority to handle education and enforcement of asbestos related matters, including sampling, testing, training, certification, reporting, and disposal. This responsibility includes enforcement of federal environmental laws as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The DENR has authority to issue up to a $10,000 civil penalty for each violation.

Landfill employees have identified the specific area where the asbestos was deposited and are monitoring the site and maintaining records as requested by DENR. The public is not at risk and the City maintained compliance with all its permit requirements.

The City has not issued any citations to this construction company because the DENR has jurisdiction over the matter. Under state law, any penalties the City would seek could not exceed $500, and the City lacks authority to issue citations for violations of state or federal law when it comes to asbestos. The City of Sioux Falls is not involved in any regulatory oversight of asbestos waste removal, including demolition projects.

The Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill is permitted and accepts properly contained asbestos waste. Generally, the City is informed in advance when asbestos is delivered to the landfill. It is deposited in designated areas according to DENR regulations and presents no worker or public safety concerns.