Iowa company paying $35K penalty for asbestos violations

By Bryan Cohen | May 4, 2012


DAVENPORT, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced a $35,000 penalty on Thursday against a Bettendorf company and its owner for allegedly engaging in open burning, solid waste and asbestos violations.

Scott County District Court Judge Mark J. Smith assessed the penalty against Rockingham-Lunex Co. and William T. Schmidt along with a permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from violating the law.

Miller filed a petition on Wednesday alleging that the defendants demolished two Bettendorf buildings in March 2011, improperly disposed of waste, openly burned waste, and failed to comply with multiple asbestos disposal and handling requirements.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources received a complaint on March 29, 2011, of nighttime open burning at the company's property and began to look into the matter. The property is the site of a former facility for manufacturing. On March 31, 2011, an environmental specialist with the DNR found a large burning pile of landscape and demolition waste, including metal debris, asphalt shingles, fiberglass insulation, wood and other building materials. The DNR also found two nearby demolished buildings and confirmed the presence of asbestos.

The defendants allegedly never had the demolished buildings inspected for asbestos, did not employ a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to remove the burned and unburned debris from demolition, and did not notify the DNR before the demolitions occurred. The alleged asbestos violations included failure to provide notice of the demolition to the DNR, failure to remove asbestos-containing material before demolition, failure to inspect for asbestos before demolition and mishandling of material that contained asbestos.

The defendants promptly responded to a notice of violation by the DNR by properly disposing of the remaining demolition debris.

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