AG Van Hollen: Settlement results in penalty payment by contractors for alleged asbestos violations during the demolition of the Aldrich Chemical Building

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Bill Cosh 608/266-1221

MADISON — A civil asbestos enforcement action arising from the demolition of the Aldrich Chemical Building as part of the Marquette Interchange Project has been filed and partially resolved, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today. Two of the three named defendants have settled the disputed allegations by agreeing to pay forfeitures and costs totaling $60,000.

RMT, Inc., Homrich, Inc. and Premium Abatement Contracting, L.L.C. were the subjects of a civil complaint alleging violations of asbestos regulations for failing to remove all asbestos from the facility prior to demolition activity, adequately wet and keep wet facility components that contained asbestos during removal and until collection, thoroughly inspect the facility for asbestos prior to commencing demolition activity, provide the DNR with a complete written notice of intention to demolish, and update the notification as required.

In December 2002 the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) purchased the former Aldrich Chemical building in the City of Milwaukee, in order to demolish it as part of the Marquette Interchange highway reconstruction. The DOT hired RMT to inspect the Aldrich Chemical building and identify asbestos-containing material that needed to be removed prior to demolition, serve as the construction manager for the pre-demolition activities including decontamination, decommissioning and asbestos abatement of the Aldrich Chemical building, and to provide environmental consulting oversight of the building demolition by other contractors. RMT hired Homrich to complete the pre-demolition of the building. Homrich was also hired by a third-party contractor to complete the structural building demolition under their contract with the DOT for reconstruction of the Marquette Interchange. Homrich, hired Premium Abatement Contracting, L.L.C. to perform the asbestos abatement. During inspections by the DNR in late 2005 and early 2006, the inspectors observed the asbestos violations listed above. All alleged violations were immediately addressed by RMT, Homrich, and Premium.

The State has reached an agreement and agreed order for judgment against RMT, Inc., and Homrich, Inc. for these alleged violations. The settling defendants will pay forfeitures and costs totaling $60,000. The settlement was approved by Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Charles F. Kahn. The claims against Premium Abatement Contracting, L.L.C. have not been resolved and are still being pursued by the Department of Justice.

The violations were investigated by inspectors at the DNR, who referred the matter to the DOJ. Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker is representing the State.