Renovation at Ill. hospital halted to clean up asbestos

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 18, 2013

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced an agreed order on Wednesday that will stop renovation at a hospital and hotel building in Chicago until asbestos contamination is cleaned up.

Under the terms of an agreed interim order, Zidan Management Group Inc., Dubai Inc. and Somerset Place Realty LLC agreed to stop all asbestos removal, take measures to prevent further release of asbestos, bar unauthorized access to the site to minimize threats to public health and the environment and present a project design plan for approval to the Chicago, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Madigan's office for removing and remediating asbestos contamination.

In April, an Illinois EPA inspection revealed improper and illegal removal of asbestos on the north side of the nine-story building. The inspector determined that workers were not properly dressed for asbestos removal and wore only paper respirators when removing pipe insulation, tile and mastic containing asbestos. The workers also allegedly failed to follow the proper wetting procedures.

"There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos," Madigan said. "Unfortunately, careless mishandling of this dangerous substance posed a health threat. This legal action will ensure the workers take appropriate precautions and the contractors effectively clean up the location."

Madigan's office joined city legal officials in announcing an eight-count complaint against the three defendants, alleging violations of asbestos inspection, emission control and disposal procedures, environmental and air pollution violations and violations related to local and state notification of asbestos removal.

A status hearing is set for the matter on May 21.

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