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Contractor stirs up trouble with dust

Molly Shore

Flying dust on a Burbank High School construction site prompted South

Coast Air Quality Management District inspectors to cite the

construction management company, a violation that has since been



AQMD spokesperson Sam Atwood said Bernards Bros. received a notice

of violation Tuesday because excessive amounts of dust spread beyond

the school’s property line into the community. Atwood added that the


agency was tipped off about problem by an anonymous parent.

“Bernards Bros. will have to modify their operation to ensure that

this doesn’t happen again, and that no dust comes into the

community,” Atwood said. “This is a relatively small violation

compared to some that we deal with. Nevertheless, it is a violation.”

Jack Hall, project manager for Bernards Bros., said the flying

dust was caused by tractors belonging to Conrod Concrete, Inc., the

general contractor working on the school’s new gymnasium as part of


the school’s Phase II construction plan.

If there is a fine levied against his company, Hall said it would

be Conrod’s responsibility to pay it.

Conrod, meanwhile, has taken measures to alleviate the problem by

bringing a water buffalo -- a tanker with spray jets -- onto the

construction site to water down the dust-generating areas, Hall said.

The tanker, which will remain on the project site, replaces a hose

that Conrod previously used, he said.


“We had another visit from AQMD [Thursday], and they’re happy with

the mitigating measures that Conrod is taking,” Hall said.

“Basically, [the inspector] said, ‘just keep it up.’ ”

Conrod officials could not be reached for comment.

Ali Kiafar, the school district’s chief facilities and development

superintendent, said that the general contractor should have had the

proper watering apparatus on the job site when the work began. He

added that he was unaware of the problem until after the citation was


If the contractor does something in violation or receives a

citation, it’s their responsibility, Kiafar said. The district has

that stipulation in all its contracts, he said.

Although the problem has been corrected, Atwood said that the

violation would go to the AQMD’s district prosecutor.

“The violation still stands until the investigation is complete,”

he said. “The investigation could take several weeks or even longer.”

Fines, if they are levied, might range from $1,000 a day up to

$100,000 a day, Atwood said, but added that “in actuality it could

even be a few hundred dollars.”