Falls City Corporation Sentenced for Asbestos Offense
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Vision 20-20 Inc., a Nebraska Corporation located in Falls City, Nebraska was sentenced in federal court in Omaha. Vision 20-20 entered a plea of guilty to an offense involving the illegal abatement and disposal of asbestos. The Honorable F.A. Gossett, United States Magistrate Judge, sentenced Vision 20-20 to a fine of $25,000. The Court further ordered restitution to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in the sum of $6,855 for monitoring the asbestos clean-up from unauthorized disposal sites.
Vision 20-20 is a Nebraska corporation established to build a new motel in Falls City. The motel was built on the site of the Stephenson Motel. The existing structure had to be demolished in order to put up the new motel. Prior to its destruction, it was necessary that asbestos be abated from the roof and floors of the existing structure. An asbestos removal firm was hired and abated the roof of the building in October of 2010. This was done at an expense of approximately $24,000. That left the tile on the floors and the flooring underneath the tile to be abated. When the company returned a few months later to begin the asbestos abatement from the flooring, they found that the motel had been demolished. When demolished, the motel still had 4,814 square feet of asbestos tile and 336 square feet of flooring.
Investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality determined that Vision 20-20 decided to remove the asbestos and demolish the building without the asbestos contractor to save the $14,000 in fees bid for the remainder of the job. The rubble, including the asbestos laden tile, was discovered in two places. Part of it was dumped in large piles at the Richardson County Department of Roads. The other was brought to a farm where it was dumped in a ditch. This particular ditch, although dry, leads to a tributary and was a violation of the Clean Water Act. The improper removal and disposal of asbestos was a violation of the Clean Air Act. Testing from both sites confirmed that the debris, mostly concrete and building materials, did contain asbestos from the tiles and flooring. Vision 20-20 hired a contractor to properly dispose of the piles of rubble left at both sites. The clean-up exceeded $50,000. The clean-up was monitored and confirmed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.