A New York property owner and his manager this week were sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for the improper removal and disposal of asbestos from several properties.
The owner, age 64, and his 57-year-old maintenance manager pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate CERCLA. Charges included failing to immediately report the release of more than a pound of asbestos from the properties. The charges stem from the removal of 260 linear feet of pipe wrap containing asbestos. Employees were ordered to remove the pipe wrap from the basement of buildings and dispose of it, but were not warned or given adequate protective gear. The pipe wrap was transported in open bags, in the open bed of a pickup truck. It was then concealed in a U-Haul and a shed maintained by the local Department of Public Works.
The Clean Air Act requires that owners of public buildings that contain asbestos follow federally established work practice standards to ensure the safe removal of the asbestos. The required standards include providing notice to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before starting asbestos removal, adequately wetting the asbestos during the removal and before disposal, and properly disposing of the asbestos at an EPA-approved disposal site.
The jail sentences will be followed by two years of supervised release. In addition, the owner must pay a $25,000 fine and a $300 crime victim special assessment fee.
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