The demolition of the former St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, located on the corner of North Washington Street and Payne Avenue, is under investigation by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to Dina Pierce, spokesperson for the Ohio EPA, a complaint was filed with the district office in Bowling Green on Thursday.
“The complaint was that the old church was demolished without a survey completed that is required before a commercial building is demolished,” Pierce said.
Pierce said an Ohio EPA representative went to the site on Friday morning and found that a required asbestos survey had not been completed before demolition of the church began.
“A notice of intent to demolition the building was not filed with our office. The notice includes a description of the project and the asbestos survey,” Pierce said.
Pierce said normally these notices are filed at least 10 days before a project begins unless a local authority, such as a mayor or zoning inspector, has deemed the project an emergency.
“At that point, an emergency order must be filed with our office,” Pierce said.
Since the asbestos survey was not completed, the EPA inspector ordered work on the project to be halted and that the material must be kept wet until the asbestos survey is completed.
According to John Swain, city service safety director of Galion, he met with the EPA inspector on Thursday along with Bob Johnston and Al Baker.
Swain said information was discussed with the EPA inspector and it was decided that Johnston will complete the required paperwork and contact an asbestos technician to evaluate the demolition site and the city’s aggregate storage facility on Fairview Avenue.
“The demo site was watered to settle the dust,” Swain said in an email to the Galion Inquirer.
Pierce said the investigation will continue next week.
“At this point, the investigation is ongoing so no violations have been issued,” Pierce said. “The results of the asbestos survey will determine when the work can continue and how it will continue.”
Gasuras can be reached on Twitter at @kimberlygasuras
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