The former owner and operator of an Illinois company has been sentenced by a federal court to 10 years in prison for the illegal removal, handling and disposal of asbestos from a five-story building in Kankakee. Information produced at trial showed that the defendant and his company were hired in August 2009 to remove asbestos-containing insulation from pipes in the building despite having no training to perform asbestos-removal work. Defendant was hired to do the work at substantially less than a trained asbestos contractor.  

According to the government’s evidence, various Clean Air Act provisions were violated during the removal operation, including failure to (i) properly notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (ii) have trained on-site representatives, (iii) ensure the asbestos insulation was adequately wetted while it was stripped and removed, (iv) mark vehicles used to transport the asbestoscontaining waste material, and (v) deposit the asbestos in a waste disposal site for asbestos. Instead, the asbestos insulation was stripped from the pipes while dry, then placed in more than 100 large, unlabeled plastic garbage bags and dumped in an open field. The court also ordered defendant to pay $47,086 to EPA for cleaning up the illegally disposed asbestos and to pay a $15,000 fine.

The CAA imposes certain requirements to control the removal, handling and disposal of asbestos. Any owner or operator of a renovation or demolition activity that includes removal of asbestos-containing material must comply with EPA regulations. See DOJ Press Release, July 26, 2012.