Developer Faces Prison Term for Illegal Asbestos Disposal
It happens all the time. Developers don’t want to pay what’s necessary to properly dispose of hazardous waste, including asbestos, so they take the illegal way out and dump it by the side of the road or at a waste facility that doesn’t accept toxic debris or perhaps put in the wrong kind of containers.
The latest case of illegal dumping that made the news happened in Lawrence, Kansas, where developer Thomas Fritzel faces federal charges that carry up to a 12-year prison term because his shoddy business practices.
Fritzel allegedly knowingly dumped large amounts of asbestos materials, all from a project he completed at the former Alvamar Country Club, without first properly securing the containers in which the materials were kept.
As such, asbestos fibers became airborne and may have injured those who came in contact with the containers.
Fritzel, as well as co-defendants Casey Stewart, Wesley Lynch, and Tucker Fritzel, face one count of conspiracy, one count of failing to notify the Environmental Protection Agency of the removal of asbestos materials, one count of failing to wet materials that contained asbestos during demolition, and one count of failing to dispose of asbestos waste in leak-tight containers, reports the Lawrence Journal-World.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired with Fritzel to violate federal laws for handling asbestos in order for Fritzel to save money on demolition and renovations at the country club,” the article continues.
Aside from a prison term, Fritzel et al also face fines of nearly a million dollars for their infractions.
Like others who’ve done the same, Fritzel likely thought he wouldn’t be caught. Unfortunately, however, every time a contractor behaves in such a fashion and fails to follow the rules, someone is liable to get hurt.
In cases of asbestos infractions, it’s usually unsuspecting workers who are likely to be affected, including sub-contractors, laborers, and even workers at dumpsites or landfills where the asbestos lands.
Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause a variety of lung conditions, including aggressive mesothelioma cancer. Most take years – or even decades – to develop, so anyone exposed to asbestos should submit to periodic lung testing to look for potential problems.