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County pops Portofino at Largo for improper asbestos removal

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sloppy asbestos removal is costing the Portofino at Largo Condominium Association and its parent company, Waterstone Capital Portofino at Largo, LLC, nearly $43,000 in county fines.

The EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division contacted Pinellas’ Air Quality Division in June of 2014 with a complaint about some renovations taking place at Portofino at Largo, also known as Portofino at Indian Rocks Beach.

Inspections by the county’s Air Quality Division ensued, with two taking place in June, three in July, and one in August of 2014.

Portofino, during renovations to eight separate condo units, was found to have improperly “disturbed” asbestos in 25,984 square feet of textured ceiling materials, 3,312 square feet of vinyl floor sheeting, 2,250 square feet of drywall systems, 460 square feet of exterior stucco, 6,800 square feet of roof shingles, and in more than 160 square feet of exterior paint.

According to the Air Quality Division inspections, asbestos was found coating walls, shelving and floors. It was observed scattered as debris on stairwells, landings, parking lots and landscaped areas.

“Friable” (easily crumbled) asbestos, part of some textured ceiling materials, was also found to have been stripped from the referenced facility without first being adequately wetted, as the county code requires.

A trained on-site representative wasn’t present during the removal of the 25,984 square feet of asbestos containing ceiling materials either, contends the inspection reports. Asbestos from this particular removal was allegedly found in the interior of condominium units, open back porches, stairwells, landings, landscaped grassy areas and parking lots as well.

Perhaps the most damaging violation to the county on the whole: asbestos was found to have been deposited in open-top roll-off dumpster containers after first being contained in bags that were not completely sealed, as is the county regulation. The roll-off dumpster containers were subsequently transported to Angelo’s Recycled Materials and Pinellas County Solid Waste Disposal facilities. Since the asbestos shipment was never identified as regulated asbestos containing waste, it was deposited into the county incinerator, instead of being buried in the proper manner.

Certain waste shipment records were also found not to have been created.

Pinellas County Commission approved a consent order this month, which the Air Quality Division and the two respondents — Eli Dadon, of Portofino at Largo Condo Association, and Richard Waserstein, of Waterstone Capital Portofino at Largo — have agreed upon. It states that $42,945 in fines shall be paid by the respondents to the Pinellas County Air Pollution Recovery Fund in quarterly installments of $10,736, with the final payment being for one dollar more, beginning August 1, 2015.

According to the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology, prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Portofino at Largo, aka Portofino at Indian Rocks, is located at 13300 Walsingham Road, in Largo.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail [email protected], or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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