Virginia Businessman Pleads Guilty to Mishandling of Asbestos-Containing Materials
NORFOLK, Va. – Billy J. Avery, 82, of Virginia Beach, Va., pleaded guilty today to violating the asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollution (NESHAP), in violation of the Clean Air Act.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David G. McLeod, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division, Philadelphia Area Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Henry Coke Morgan.
Avery faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment when he is sentenced on January 28, 2014.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Avery served as the Secretary and Treasurer of EC&C Environmental (EC&C), an environmental services company. Avery operated EC&C out of his residence located on Gulls Quay, Virginia Beach, Virginia. In July 2012, a contractor was retained to demolish the Wayside Motor Inn located at 400 South Military Highway in Virginia Beach. Prior to the demolition, the contactor subcontracted EC&C and Avery to conduct an asbestos inspection of the hotel building to identify the presence and location of asbestos-containing materials (ACM). During the inspection, Avery took samples of suspected ACM and provided the samples to a chemical laboratory in Richmond, Virginia for analysis. The laboratory testing results confirmed the presence of asbestos-containing materials. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) issued an asbestos removal permit to EC&C to remove the 1,450 linear feet of regulated asbestos-containing material from the Wayside Motor Inn. While removing and disposing the regulated asbestos-containing materials from the Wayside Motor Inn, EC&C and Avery did not follow the asbestos work practice standards and procedure required under the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs). During a meeting with the Chesapeake Deputy Fire Marshal and a DOLI inspector on February 6, 2013 regarding dumpsters Avery used in the Wayside Motel and other projects, Avery admitted that at least one of the dumpsters contained friable asbestos waste from various projects, including the waste from the Wayside Motor Inn.
This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division; the Chesapeake, Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office; and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Assistant United States Attorney Joseph L. Kosky and Special Assistant United States Attorney David Lastra are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.