News and Press Releases

Owner of Environmental Company Sentenced to Prison for Clean Air Act Violations

August 13, 2004

Reno, Nev. - The owner of a Nevada asbestos abatement company was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks to six months in prison and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to one count of a Violation of the Clean Air Act, a felony offense, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

According to the court records, DEAN ROBERTS, age 39, of Henderson, Nevada, was the owner of Axis Consulting and Environmental Services (Axis Environmental), a Nevada corporation and asbestos removal company doing business in Reno. On November 20, 2002, a business known as the Uniform Shop, located at 79 South Wells, in Reno, was destroyed by fire. An insurance company assessment revealed the presence of asbestos-containing materials at the Uniform Shop property. In December 2002, Axis Environmental was retained to remove the asbestos from the property, and DEAN ROBERTS served as the project manager.

Because asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant, the EPA has established emission and work practice standards for the removal of asbestos-containing materials from buildings, including:

Asbestos removal operators must remove any asbestos-containing material before it can be disturbed; asbestos-containing material must be adequately wet before it is removed; asbestos-containing material must be properly packaged for disposal in leak-tight containers and no visible emissions may be discharged to the outside during the removal process; vehicles used to transport the asbestos-containing material must be marked; and waste shipment records must be maintained and provided to disposal site owners or operators.

DEAN ROBERTS supervised the asbestos abatement project at the Uniform Shop between December 20, 2002, and January 15, 2003. During that period, the asbestos-containing material was removed dry and stripped, rather than removed in sections, and it was not properly sealed in bags or containers. Additionally, as manager of the project, DEAN ROBERTS failed to obtain a permit or notify the county authorities prior to performing the asbestos removal work. Criminal Investigators with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that asbestos-containing materials were removed improperly from approximately 880 feet of the Uniform Shop.

ROBERTS will be prohibited from performing asbestos removal work for three years following his release from custody.

The case was investigated by Special Agent Jan Valente with the Environmental Protection Agency and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig S. Denney.

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