Toledo man sentenced to prison for his role in illegal dumping of asbestos
A Toledo man was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine for his role in the illegal removal and disposal of asbestos-containing material, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
John J. Mayer, 52, pleaded guilty in July to violating the Clean Air Act.
“Mr. Mayer ignored the laws and regulations that are in place to protect the public,” Dettelbach said. “Protecting the environment, including the air we breathe, is a priority of my office and the Justice Department.”
“Improper removal and disposal of asbestos endangers human health, and exposure to asbestos fibers can prove fatal,” said Randall K. Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Ohio. “The Defendant oversaw the illegal removal of large quantities of asbestos-containing materials, which were ultimately dumped in three residential areas in Toledo. This case should serve notice that U.S. EPA and its partner agencies are prepared to prosecute those who 'cut corners' by avoiding the costs of handling or disposing of asbestos properly.”
Mayer directed individuals to remove asbestos-containing insulation from boilers, duct work and pipes in a former manufacturing facility in Toledo between September and December 2010, in order that Mayer could sell the scrap metal from those items. This work was performed in violation of the federal Clean Air Act regulations regarding asbestos abatement, according to court documents.
The asbestos-containing insulation was not wetted at any time during the removal process; the City of Toledo, Division of Environmental Services, was not notified prior to the work commencing and there was not on site a person trained in the provisions of the federal asbestos regulations, according to court documents.
The illegally removed asbestos-containing insulation was placed into approximately 82 garbage bags, which were dumped at various locations throughout Toledo in violation of the requirement that such material be disposed at a site operated in accordance with federal law, according to court documents.
Timothy Byes, 32, of Toledo, also pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act and is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.
The investigating agencies in this case are the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency – Office of Special Investigations, the City of Toledo – Division of Environmental Services, all members of the Northwest Ohio Environmental Crimes Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gene Crawford and Special Assistant United States Attorney James J. Cha.