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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that his office resolved a civil asbestos enforcement action arising from the demolition of the Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex Building.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice, in December 2007, charged Milwaukee County, Walsh Construction Co., Omega Demolition Corporation, Balestrieri Environmental & Development, Inc., and Professional Service Industries with violations of four DNR regulations pertaining to the removal of asbestos-containing materials. The complaint alleges that the various defendants 1) failed to remove asbestos-containing material from the facility prior to activity that would break-up, dislodge, or similarly disturb the material; 2) failed to wet asbestos-containing material during removal; 3) failed to have a supervisor trained in proper asbestos removal techniques present during removal; and 4) discharged visible emissions during the handling of the asbestos-containing material.
The Department of Justice reached an agreement with Milwaukee County for a penalty of $25,000 for these violations. The Honorable Jean W. DiMotto approved this agreement on November 21, 2008. The Department of Justice had previously settled and obtained a judgment against Walsh Construction Co., Omega Demolition Corporation, and Balestrieri Environmental & Development, Inc. for these violations with a penalty of forfeitures and costs totaling $105,000. The Department of Justice also obtained a stipulated judgment against Professional Service Industries for $15,000.
The Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex Building, formerly located at 907 North 10th Street in the City of Milwaukee was demolished between March 2006 and August 2006 as part of the Marquette Interchange Project. Milwaukee County hired Walsh Construction Co. as a general contractor to demolish the Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex Building. Milwaukee County also hired defendant Professional Service Industries to provide oversight over the asbestos abatement phase of the operation. Defendant Walsh Construction Co. hired defendant Omega Demolition Corporation to demolish the Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex Building. Defendant Omega Demolition Corporation hired defendant Balestrieri Environmental & Development, Inc. to perform asbestos abatement at the Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex Building. During various inspections, DNR staff observed numerous violations of the asbestos handling regulations as detailed in the complaint.
The violations were investigated by inspectors at the DNR, who referred it to the Department of Justice. Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker is representing the State.