A judge has ordered a Salinas trucking company to pay $150,000 for illegally disposing of asbestos — even though the company says that they did not know that they were transporting the hazardous material.
The court found that Robles Trucking Quality Service, Inc. failed to properly strip insulation material containing 10% asbestos from the steam lines and steel pipes of a greenhouse that the trucking company owned. In California, even 1 % asbestos is considered hazardous.
Robles and his crew then improperly transported the insulation material to the Johnson Canyon Landfill without performing the required work practices for disposing of asbestos or hazardous materials. The landfill does not accept hazardous waste. Robles and his company were stopped at the landfill and the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District was contacted.
Monterey County Deputy District Attorney James Burlinson says that it doesn’t matter if Robles knew about the asbestos or not: “It’s a strict liability offense. Their claim was that they didn’t know it contained asbestos. But at the end of the day, they accepted liability.”
Burlinson warns that many pipes contain asbestos. When in doubt, he says, that trucking companies should call in a professional to assess materials to avoid being held accountable.