City: Claremont debris pile doesn’t contain asbestos

A debris pile remains after the demolition of a dilapidated house and barn at 102 Washington Street in Claremont, N.H., on Monday, May 13, 2024. The property owner was cited by Claremont’s Zoning Board of Adjustment for creating a nuisance by failing to remove the debris pile, which must also be tested for asbestos. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

A debris pile remains after the demolition of a dilapidated house and barn at 102 Washington Street in Claremont, N.H., on Monday, May 13, 2024. The property owner was cited by Claremont’s Zoning Board of Adjustment for creating a nuisance by failing to remove the debris pile, which must also be tested for asbestos. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

By PATRICK O’GRADY

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 06-10-2024 5:01 PM

Modified: 06-11-2024 4:26 PM


CLAREMONT — A pile of debris from an early 19th century home that was demolished in late March does not contain asbestos, as first feared, Claremont Chief Building Official and Health Officer Leigh Hays official said Friday.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services confirmed the test results and property owner Atta Ullah, who had the debris removed last week, can ship it to any location that accepts demolition material, Hays said.

Lead also is not an issue when it is contained or spread out in a larger area, which is the case with this material, and not concentrated, he said. 

On April 1, less than a week after the building, which was beyond repair and in danger of collapsing, was demolished, Ullah was cited for violating the city’s nuisance ordinance and also for failing to get a permit or conduct environmental tests.

Ullah appealed the ordinance violation to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, which upheld the decision on May 6.

The nuisance ordinance carries fines, which have to be pursued in court. Hays said the city could not fine Ullah until his appeal was heard.

After the zoning board decision, Hays said, Ullah worked as fast as he could to resolve the problem given the time constraints of ordering the tests, waiting for results and obtaining the authority to remove the material.

Ullah had the asbestos test done within days of the board meeting and it takes at least 10 days to get results.

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“The city is not likely to pursue fines as Mr. Ullah worked diligently once the ZBA determined a violation existed,” Hays said. “He had been in constant contact with the city and has completed all that has been required of him.”