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Lima Man Pleads Guilty to Botching Asbestos Removal
DAYTON Lamont P. Pryor, 47, of Lima, Ohio pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to violating the Clean Air Act in connection with his companys handling of asbestos during the demolition of the former Piqua Medical Center in 2008.
The dangers of improperly handled asbestos are well-known and well documented, U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart said. Knowingly failing to handle the material properly is a crime and must be punished.
According to court documents, Pryor and his company, Avalon Commonwealth Inc., removed scrap metal from the hospital as part of the demolition process. The scrap metal was removed and sold, but the rest of the demolition debris, including friable asbestos, was piled in areas around the hospital, exposed to the wind and elements.
According to prosecutors, Pryor knew he was not supposed to leave the friable asbestos outside the hospital, exposed to the elements, but instead was supposed to take the asbestos to a proper waste disposal facility.
Stewart said a representative of the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA), the local air pollution control agency, inspected the site in December 2008, saw the damaged asbestos and asked that demolition be halted while the investigation took place.
This defendant put his workers and the residents of a Piqua neighborhood at risk of asbestos exposure just to cut corners, Attorney General Mike DeWine said. We cannot tolerate a knowing choice to violate the law and risk the health of Ohio families, and our Environmental Enforcement Unit will continue to investigate criminal environmental activity within the state.
Randall Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of EPAs criminal enforcement program in Ohio, said there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos
Despite knowing that the Piqua Hospital contained friable asbestos, the defendant failed to notify authorities before demolition as required by law nor did he employ qualified workers to remove it legally and safely," Ashe said. "As a result, asbestos was broken up and piled in areas around the hospital, threatening the environment and jeopardizing the safety of the general public.
Pryor pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the asbestos removal provisions of the Clean Air Act. The plea agreement includes an agreed-to sentence of 13 months in prison. The court will review the terms of the agreement before determining whether or not to accept all the terms, including the sentence.
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