January 18, 2019

Asbestos May be Involved in Illegal Islip Dumping

The Town of Islip in Long Island, New York is looking to file lawsuits against contractors who allegedly illegally dumped debris containing asbestos within the Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. According to Newsday, the contractors may also be criminally charged by the Suffolk County district attorney. To make sure that asset liquidation does not occur, the Town of Islip will also be seeking civil restraining orders against companies involved in the dumping.

“We want to prevent any of these people that are responsible for this criminal conduct from corporate protection by selling off assets of their corporations,” said councilman Anthony Senft. “So that when we come after them and get judgments in the favor of Town of Islip, they [can’t say they] have no assets.”

According to Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, an estimated 32,000 tons of debris were dumped in the park by at least one “unscrupulous contractor”. Some of this debris contained asbestos concentrations as high as 44 percent. Spota called the dumping an “environmental nightmare” and experts estimate that the cleanup could cost seven figures.

Last year, a church located a mile north of the park asked for donations of clean soil to fix holes in its soccer fields after running out of its own resources. This request prompted contractors to dump illegal fill as early as June. According to Newsday, prosecutors said the debris came from New York City and Long Island.

The park has been closed indefinitely since April 23rd. This closure has stopped a $1.5 million swimming pool rehabilitation project, which was set to open next month. According to Newsday, a full analysis may take until early June.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Spota said his investigators are working to determine if anyone in the government was aware of illegal dumping at the time it occurred. According to Senft, who is the council’s liason to the parks department, the debris was “placed illegally without the permission” without the permission of the town. Spota said that the contractors who worked on the project were hired by the church, and that he believed the church was not to blame.

Asbestos fibers are easily ingested or inhaled when they are airborne. When breathed in, it can lead to a number of serious health problems, such as breathing problems that become harder to treat over time. Being exposed to large amounts of asbestos or being exposed for long periods of time may lead to various types of lung cancer, including mesothelioma.


Asbestos May be Involved in Illegal Islip Dumping

Contractor fined for asbestos violations at Worcester project

WORCESTER — A demolition company has been fined up to $125,000 for mishandling asbestos during a renovation of the Crompton and Knowles building at 95 Grand St.

According to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, the contractor, McConnell Enterprises Inc., of Essex and Braintree, “uncovered piping wrapped with asbestos insulation during demolition in 2011 and allegedly left it hanging three stories above the ground, putting workers and others in the area at risk of contact with harmful fibers for an extended period of time.”

McConnell — a state-licensed asbestos removal contractor — “finally removed the asbestos-covered pipes and other asbestos-containing materials from the building on Grand Street, the company failed to properly handle and store it, leaving it in unmarked black plastic bags in a nearby building where people regularly come and go and other businesses operate.”

The complaint, filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, McConnell “also failed to follow proper notification procedures, preventing the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) from conducting appropriate oversight of the company’s asbestos removal activities.”

In order to secure payment under its demolition contract with the city of Worcester, the complaint alleged that McConnell “falsely certified that it had complied with the applicable laws and regulations, violating the Massachusetts False Claims Act. The complaint also alleges various violations of the commonwealth’s air pollution prevention statute, its asbestos regulations, and its solid waste management statute and regulations.”

Under the settlement, McConnell must pay $82,500 in civil penalties to the state, and another $42,500 in civil penalties if it fails to conform to waste regulations over the next 18 months.

When reached at its Braintree headquarters Friday, a McConnell employee said the company would have no comment.

“Licensed asbestos contractors are fully aware of the removal, handling, packaging and storage requirements that must be followed when dealing with asbestos-containing materials and of the requirement to provide notification to MassDEP in advance of this work,” said DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell in a press release. “Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and following the rules is imperative to protect workers as well as the general public and environment. Failure to do so will result in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”

Aaron Nicodemus can be reached at anicodemus@telegram.com


Contractor fined for asbestos violations at Worcester project