Valley News – City: Pile of rubble in Clarmont contains no asbestos

A pile of rubble remains after the demolition of a dilapidated house and barn at 102 Washington Street in Claremont, NH, on Monday, May 13, 2024. The property owner has been charged with nuisance by Claremont's Zoning Board of Adjustment for failing to remove the pile of rubble, which also must 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
Alex Driehaus

CLAREMONT – A pile of rubble from an early 19th-century house that was demolished in late March does not contain asbestos, contrary to initial fears, Leigh Hays, Claremont's chief building official and health officer, 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 send it to any place that accepts demolition material, Hays said.

Lead is also not a problem if it is contained or distributed over 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 was demolished because it was beyond repair and in danger of collapsing, Ullah was charged with violating the city's noise ordinance, as well as failing to obtain a permit and conduct environmental testing.

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

The nuisance ordinance provides for fines that must be pursued in court. Hays said the city cannot impose a fine on Ullah until his appeal is heard.

Following the building department's decision, Hays said Ullah worked as quickly as possible to resolve the issue because he was unable to schedule the testing, wait for the results and obtain permits to remove the material.

Ullah had the asbestos test done within days of the board meeting and it will take at least 10 days for the results to be available.

“The city is unlikely to impose fines because Mr. Ullah worked diligently after the ZBA identified a violation,” Hays said. “He has been in constant contact with the city and has done everything that has been asked of him.”

Anna Harden

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