Oakland CA – Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announced today that the office’s Environmental Protection Unit, along with nine other prosecutor’s offices in Northern California, has reached a settlement with San Diego-based Pacifica Hosts, Inc. and Pacifica Senior Living LLC (registered to do business in California as Pacifica Senior Living Management LLC) (collectively, “Pacifica”) for violations of asbestos-related laws and regulations that occurred at Pacifica’s senior living and hotel properties in California. The case was brought by the District Attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Sonoma, and Ventura Counties, as well as the City Attorney of Los Angeles.
The investigation was initiated when the local Air Resources District received a complaint about unpermitted work being conducted at a Pacifica-owned senior living facility. It was discovered that contractors had conducted renovation and demolition activities without following the required procedures mandated by the Federal Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAPS”) for demolitions and renovations, which are incorporated into Air Resources Board rules at the local levels, including in Alameda County. Additionally, contractors disturbed asbestos-containing fireproofing material during their work without taking proper safety precautions to prevent asbestos emission. Subsequently, the Alameda District Attorney’s Office and other prosecutor’s offices conducted a joint investigation into possible violations in their respective counties, which revealed numerous similar violations (although no determination as to the actual presence of asbestos was made elsewhere). Specifically, in Alameda County, the investigation revealed that Pacifica failed to thoroughly inspect for asbestos and neglected to notify the local Air Resources District of demolition at two facilities: Oakland Heights Senior Living Facility and San Leandro Living Facility.
Pacifica cooperated with the prosecutors throughout the investigation and has now agreed to pay $1.575 million to settle the case. The settlement amount consists of $1.125 million in civil penalties, $250,000 for supplemental environmental projects, and $200,000 in investigative costs. The funds from the supplemental environmental projects will be directed towards local air pollution control initiatives and senior services. The terms of the stipulated judgment include a permanent injunction requiring Pacifica to comply with asbestos-related laws and regulations.
Asbestos precautions are crucial during renovation and demolition work due to the increased risk of respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other cancers associated with asbestos exposure. Asbestos can commonly be found in various building materials, including fireproofing, insulation, vinyl floor tiles, wall texture coatings, roofing materials, acoustic ceilings, linoleum backing, and taping, both in old and new buildings. Owners and operators of demolition and renovation activities are required to sample and test building materials that may contain asbestos to determine its presence, even if the facility has previously undergone renovation. Whenever regulated asbestos-containing materials are present and will be disturbed, qualified and licensed asbestos abatement contractors must be employed to ensure complete removal before any disturbances occur.
The settlement with Pacifica serves as a reminder to all property owners and operators of the utmost importance of adhering to asbestos-related laws and regulations during renovation and demolition activities to safeguard public health and the environment.
## Contact: Public Information Officer Patti Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org // 628-249-1288
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The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.