On July 30, 2019, A Kansas developer was found guilty on charges of removing and disposing of asbestos in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) during demolition and renovation of a country club in Lawrence, Kan.
Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant regulated under CAA Section 112. CAA regulations specify work practices for asbestos that must be followed during and prior to demolition or renovation of facilities. The regulatory requirements include: (i) a thorough inspection of where the demolition or renovation will occur; (ii) notice to the responsible environmental agency prior to the commencement of any demolition or renovation of buildings that contain a certain threshold amount of regulated asbestos-containing material (ACM); (iii) complete removal of all ACM; (iv) adequate wetting of all ACM; (v) sealing ACM in leak-tight containers; and (vi) disposing of asbestos-containing waste material as expediently as possible.
The developer was convicted of failing to notify authorities before removing asbestos, failing to keep asbestos wet during demolition to prevent air contamination and failing to dispose of asbestos in leak-tight containers. At trial, the government presented evidence that the developer knew that the building contained ACM and had received instructions from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to get a licensed asbestos contractor to perform the removal and dispose of it properly. At a site inspection, the KDHE found that asbestos debris had been removed and dumped at a landfill not approved for asbestos disposal. The developer now faces up to 12 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $750,000.
The case is United States v. Fritzel, Case No. 18-40059-DDC (D. Kan.). Additional information can be obtained from the United States Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office press release here.