March 26, 2019

Holland man admits he dumped asbestos

Published: Wednesday, 3/4/2015


Holland man admits he dumped asbestos


A Holland man admitted Tuesday that he removed and dumped asbestos from the former Champion Spark Plug plant on Upton Avenue.

Ronald Gibson, 56, pleaded guilty in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to engaging in asbestos hazard-abatement activity without a license, engaging in asbestos-removal work without prior written notice to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and illegal disposal of construction and demolition debris.

Gibson told the court he was hired to remove the asbestos in the fall of 2012 and did so even though he knew it was illegal because he was “hurting for money.” He said he disposed of the materials in Dumpsters at a Dorr Street mobile home park and an abandoned house off Old State Line Road.

Judge Linda Jennings scheduled sentencing for April 15.

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Holland man admits he dumped asbestos

Lawyer gets the blame in asbestos scare

Contractors for the state Department of Environmental Protection removed asbestos-laden demolition debris from a container that the agency says was illegally kept at an office complex that abuts a residential neighborhood

Jeff Green/record staff

Contractors for the state Department of Environmental Protection removed asbestos-laden demolition debris from a container that the agency says was illegally kept at an office complex that abuts a residential neighborhood

CLIFTON – The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a violation to a lawyer after spending tens of thousands of dollars to remove a container filled with asbestos and other construction debris that had been left exposed to the elements in a residential area.

Neighbors were outraged over the three-week debacle at lawyer Norman Chidiac’s Clifton Avenue office complex. The container of construction debris went uncovered for several days until the state intervened, and even afterward it was concealed only by a loosely secured tarp that flapped in the wind, residents said.

“When you hear ‘asbestos,’ what first comes to mind? Danger,” said a resident of Fornelius Avenue who asked not to be named. “Three weeks go by and the neighborhood was exposed.”

Chidiac said in interviews that a client, Steve DiFilippi, who runs a construction company called Elite Demolition, dropped off the 30 cubic-yard container and then asked his permission to keep it in Chidiac’s parking lot for a day. He allowed it, not knowing the construction materials were mixed with asbestos, he said.

“I am as upset as the neighbors are,” Chidiac said Tuesday. “[This] turned into a monster.”

It’s not clear how much asbestos was mixed with construction waste. It’s also unknown whether residents could have been exposed to the fibers, said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the DEP. Prolonged inhalation of asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

The state agency’s solid-waste enforcement division learned of the situation late last month when Newark Carting reported that a container it owned had been stolen after a demolition job involving two burned-down houses in Paterson, the spokesman said. The city of Paterson had hired DiFilippi’s company to remove the debris but the company didn’t finish the job, Considine said.

The division told Newark Carting where the container was stored and that it had not been stolen. But Newark Carting refused to remove it because DiFilippi hadn’t paid up on rent for the bin, Considine said.

The agency then instructed DiFilippi to wet down, cover and shrink-wrap the overfilled and damaged container before transferring the asbestos materials to another bin. But several days passed, and all DiFilippi’s contractor did was tape down some plastic on the deteriorating container, Considine said.

The state environmental agency took over the job two weeks ago, after it became clear that DiFilippi wouldn’t finance the necessary work, Considine said. The agency spent an estimated $80,000 on the four-day cleanup and will try to recoup the money, even though it’s unclear which companies will be held responsible, Considine said.

Chidiac was issued a violation for operating an unapproved solid-waste facility. Violations are pending for DiFilippi, the spokesman said.

DiFilippi could not be reached for comment.

Chidiac, a general practice lawyer, disputed the violation, which he said he hadn’t yet received.

“I’m not liable for anything because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “I learned of it all after the fact.”

But he said he’s learned a lesson.

“You can’t always be nice,” Chidiac said. “People take advantage. Unfortunately I was the sucker.”


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Lawyer gets the blame in asbestos scare

Asbestos cleanup set to begin at former Citadel Plaza development site

The long-awaited cleanup of the failed Citadel Plaza development site near 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue is finally set to begin, at least in a small way.

Kansas City officials said test pit activity will begin Wednesday and continue for two to three weeks. It will take place on four to six lots out of the 68 vacant lots identified for possible buried asbestos. If contamination is found, it will be properly disposed of, they said.

Results of those tests will set the stage for a full environmental cleanup on the site later this year, said Andrew Bracker, the city’s brownfields coordinator. A brownfield is an area contaminated by industrial or commercial use.

“It is the start,” Bracker said of the process to address any buried asbestos at the former development site –– encompassing seven blocks –– so the city can try to market the location for another developer.

Citadel Plaza was envisioned as an $80 million, 35-acre shopping center with a grocery store, restaurants, other retailers and housing. But the developer, CDC-KC, failed to properly monitor asbestos removal before some homes were torn down in 2006, and the project collapsed in a mess of environmental and financial conflicts.

In November 2011, the Kansas City Council approved a $15 million settlement to resolve lawsuits involving the development’s creditors. That settlement, made final in January 2012, gave the city clear title to the land and freed the site for development.

But first the city has to make sure there is no more asbestos contamination, and that process has taken much longer than expected.

Consultants have taken samples from 154 properties and found only one parcel with detectible asbestos fibers in the soil surface. Subsoil contamination has been harder to determine.

Bracker said considerable research on more than 200 lots ruled out contamination on all but 68 vacant lots. The city had hoped to issue a cleanup contract in 2013, but that level of continuing uncertainty about the 68 lots could lead to expensive bids, Bracker said. So the city decided to proceed more slowly and do the test pits. Even getting that contract in place took longer than expected.

“We have not met our expectations with respect to the pace” of cleanup, Bracker acknowledged.

The city has a $500,000 federal grant for cleanup and some bond funds available, but Bracker said the city wants to conserve as much money as possible for work needed before development begins.

The test pits are in the 6100 blocks of Park Avenue and Olive Street. Bracker said the contractor will monitor air quality before and during the activity and will take necessary precautions to make sure no asbestos escapes into the air. Nearby residents will not be at risk and will have access to their homes.

Bracker said it should take 45 days to get and interpret the test pit results, and that will pave the way for a more complete cleanup, which he hopes can occur by this summer.

The city also commissioned a market study about potential development opportunities for the site, but the report released in May 2013 wasn’t overly encouraging. It saw no potential for a convenience/neighborhood-oriented shopping center, noting there are other struggling shopping complexes nearby.

The consultant’s report recommended trying to attract four or five regional traffic generators such as a Menards, Ross Dress for Less, Target and Michaels. City officials have said they intend to market the site aggressively, but that won’t until the cleanup is complete.

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Asbestos cleanup set to begin at former Citadel Plaza development site

Anger over asbestos left in street for six weeks by 'negligent' council

Coulsdon residents’ anger over asbestos left in street for six weeks by ‘negligent’ Croydon Council

Exclusive By Chris Baynes, Reporter

Concerned residents Mario and Mia Celiberdi, Richard and Judy Yates, and Nikki, Robyn, Colin and Nathan Jakeman

Concerned residents Mario and Mia Celiberdi, Richard and Judy Yates, and Nikki, Robyn, Colin and Nathan Jakeman

Outraged families have condemned “negligent” Croydon Council for failing to clear up potentially lethal asbestos for six weeks after it was dumped near their homes.

Safety campaigners have also criticised the inadequate response to dozens of calls from concerned Coulsdon residents about the toxic material, which can cause cancer, that was left in a public alleyway by fly-tippers.

Experts have said the waste material should have been cleaned up within 24 hours and was particularly dangerous because it had been broken up.

But instead council contractors refused to touch the dangerous corrugated asbestos sheets when they visited the alley – where children regularly play – in early August.

The council, finally arranged for the sheets to be collected on Friday after being contacted by the Croydon Guardian and MP Richard Ottaway.

The abestos sheets were not collected for six weeks after being dumped

Furious residents are now considering complaining to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The council apologised and blamed “miscommunication” for the delay, which it admitted was “clearly alarming”.

More than 4,500 people a year are thought to die from asbestos-related diseases, caused by the inhalation of dangerous fibres.

It is understood a renegotiation of the contract between the council and the contractor is partly being blamed for the situation.

Contractors only collected a pile of harmless building waste thrown into the alley, where children regularly play, which connects Westleigh Avenue and Chipstead Valley Road, when they first visited.

Dad-of-two Colin Jakeman, 36, of nearby Chipstead Close, said: “Not everyone knows what asbestos looks like. It can be really nasty stuff.

“It has been there for the best part of two months – it is not like the council can plead ignorance. It is a public health hazard – there are drains, kids play there and everyone is still using the alley.

“The council were called and came out and cleared all the rubbish – everything except the asbestos. They obviously recognised it as asbestos and said ‘oh no, we’re not touching that’ and left it.”

Judi Yates, 68, of Westleigh Avenue, said: “There are a lot of children along this road, as well as pregnant mums.

“It can be really dangerous, especially when you have got big trucks trundling over it.

“I feel the council have been negligent. We made that many phonecalls and they didn’t seem to be do anything.”

Colin Jakeman with son Nathan and parents-in-law Judi and Richard Yates

Mrs Yates said a council call handler had told her the authority’s contract with its hazardous waste disposal firm had expired and not been replaced.

Another resident, Mario Celiberdi, claimed he had contacted the council several times a week before the asbestos was collected.

A council spokesman denied it had let the contract lapse, but admitted a review of the contract had been “one of a number of factors” in delaying the collection.

Tony Whitson, chairman of the Asbestos Victim Support Groups Forum, said the type of asbestos dumped was usually a low-level danger but could become “like a bottle of poison” when broken.

He said: “All asbestos can be dangerous, so it has got to be treated seriously.

“If asbestos sheets are left they are vulnerable to damage – either by children or anyone else – and that creates a problem.

“It is like a bottle of poison. Leave the top off the bottle, you’re fine – take it off, you’re in trouble. When asbestos is broken and damaged the fibres can be released.

The asbestos sheet were broken, making them more dangerous

“The reprehensible thing about the council in this case is to leave it there. They should deal with it expeditiously, within 24 hours. It is unacceptable.”

Margaret Sharkey, spokeswoman for London Hazards Centre, said: “It is not the heaviest industrial exposure, but there is no safe level and if you were in the vicinity you could have breathed in the fibres.

“It is dangerous and people are right to be worried, especially because kids are more likely to develop the illnesses.”

A spokesman for Croydon Council said: “Unfortunately, miscommunication between officers and the contractors led to this flytipping not being removed as quickly as it should, and for this we apologise.

“We can confirm that it has now been safely disposed of.”


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Anger over asbestos left in street for six weeks by 'negligent' council

Recycling plant owners to pick up asbestos after fire


A week after the massive recycling plant fire, there’s still smoke coming from the remnants of the building. But the smoke and fire aren’t what people are worried about today. Now they are concerned about particles of asbestos that are littering the nearby neighborhoods.

It looks like white and black paper strewn all over the near west side. And the people that live just a few blocks from the Belmont Avenue warehouse fire have been picking up what they can.

“It was all over the yard – everywhere in the front yard. We cut it all up today,” one resident said.

Paper-like remnants are held together by asbestos. When the warehouse was built, asbestos tiles were the best thing going. No one knew the hazards of asbestos until years later. Now that hazard is littered across miles of Indianapolis. We found debris 5 miles away on College Avenue.

One lady said, “It is still around… I mean there is a lot of it around on the ground, but the smell is still pretty bad.”

The Marion County Health Department has ordered the owner of the recycling business to get the asbestos picked up.

Richard Griffith is training employee’s of the warehouse to do that job. He is the president of Workplace Safety and Health and an expert on asbestos. It is one thing to pick up after a fire, it is a whole new ball game when dealing with millions of burnt asbestos particles.

“Like I said before, a fiber that can be suspended in the air for many hours is one of the reasons asbestos is very toxic.”

Griffith said there is indisputable proof that asbestos will cause cancer. Who will get it and when depends on the person and exposure to asbestos.

And the question lingering in the neighborhoods that are littered with asbestos – “When will the debris be cleaned up?”

“There are millions and billions of asbestos in the air. This is what you can see. What we can’t see is what is gonna hurt us.” added one concerned resident.

If you find asbestos, wet it down, put on gloves and put on mask before you attempt to pick it up yourself. Or you can just wait until crews begin scouring the neighborhoods and come around and pick it up for you.

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Recycling plant owners to pick up asbestos after fire