A lesson for property owners

A lesson for property owners

This letter is written with the sole purpose of making property owners aware of the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA).

My husband and I purchased a home in the Aberdeen area that needed work. That home also included an older, unlivable, double-wide mobile home. Being on a budget, we began to clean the property, assess the work and proceed forward with what we could accomplish.

I contacted the following:

Electric utilities to be disconnected and removed from the mobile home.

Water utilities to have the water meter checked for the mobile home.

We approached the local fire department and offered the mobile home for a controlled burn. They did not want it.

I had also called Department of Licensing about the title and how I should handle it since, the mobile home was no longer going to exist.

We turned in a request with pictures to Grays Harbor County for a reassessment of the property taxes, since the mobile home at that point was mostly gone.

My point is that in all the local contacts we made about this demolition, there was no mention of ORCAA to us ever.

The gentleman we hired to remove the mobile home recycled most of it. The rest was taken to the dump and some was burned in our yard.

My husband and I had never heard of ORCAA (Olympic Region Clean Air Agency) as we have moved here from a long stay in North Carolina.

An agent from ORCAA came by as the job was finishing up and told us we were in violation of several things. ORCAA is a local government agency that enforces local, state and federal air laws. ORCAA requires a notification process for asbestos and demolition jobs. They deal with outdoor burning and burn bans for Thurston, Grays Harbor, Mason, Pacific, Jefferson and Clallam counties. We had burned some of the timbers from the mobile home frame on our property and that is illegal. We now know you can only burn small piles of yard clippings — preferably dried to reduce the amount of smoke from the fire — and only during times that local burn bans are not in effect. As a result, we were fined civil penalties by ORCAA for our violations.

It is very important if you are working on this type of project to be aware of ORCAA and its regulations. If contractors are not aware of ORCAA and their regulations, look for another contractor.

If we had been told about ORCAA at closing that would have prevented this whole scenario, including a civil penalty. Real estate agents should give information about ORCAA to all new property owners so they proceed forward properly.

Cheryl Glasier

Aberdeen