Skip to Content

U-Haul Co. of California to pay $1.123 million in asbestos-related violations lawsuit

MGN: Nick / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 License Link

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – U-Haul Co. of California has agreed to pay $1.123 million in civil penalties to settle asbestos-related violations found at a Santa Maria warehouse, according to Santa Barbara County District Attorney John T. Savrnoch.

Savrnoch said the alleged civil violations came from U-Haul's failure to properly handle asbestos-containing material during renovations at its Santa Maria storage warehouse.

According to the People's Complaint, U-Haul employees used demolition equipment to remove flooring from the warehouse, which was about 20,000 square feet, in the fall of 2019.

A citizen witnessed this removal process and reported it to the the Santa Barbara County Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA), according to the DA's office.

CUPA and inspectors from the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) investigated the area and found broken floor tiles and debris in an uncovered, forty-yard dumpster outside the facility.

CUPA and APCD then investigated what was left of the interior flooring, which most of was removed, and said they found that the vinyl tiles and mastic glue contained asbestos.

"Although the facility was built in the 1970s, UHCA (U-Haul of Calif.) did not conduct any asbestos surveys prior to removing the tiles," said Savrnoch.

"As a result, UHCA failed to take required safety precautions for asbestos work, including using appropriate safety gear and removal methods, and posting signage warning employees and the public about the work being conducted and the asbestos-containing materials being placed in the uncovered dumpster."

The DA's office noted that the People's Complaint also accused U-Haul of "improperly disposed of over 32,200 pounds of debris, including the vinyl tiles and mastic glue, at a facility not authorized to handle asbestos-containing material, which is characterized as hazardous waste."

As a result, U-Haul Co. of California agreed to pay $1.123 and investigative costs to settle these violations.

Savrnoch said that out of this amount, $111,595 will fund supplemental environmental projects specifically in the Santa Maria community where the violations occurred.

According to the DA's office, this funding will be directed towards organizations that:

  • provide youth from low-income families with outdoor educational opportunities;
  • restore community parks;
  • and provide grants to community members for projects that enhance the environment in and directly outside of Santa Maria.

“The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting violations of California’s environmental laws," said Savrnoch. "These laws protect the health of employees and the public and they also protect the environment from harmful substances such as asbestos. As this case demonstrates, enforcing these laws is critical to ensuring that those who work and live in our community can do so in a healthy environment.”

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Lily Dallow

Lily is the Digital Content Director at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Lily, click here.


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content