1999 News Releases
PHILADELPHIA MAN CHARGED WITH VIOLATIONS FOR DUMPING ASBESTOS
Release Date: 11/04/99
FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1999
PHILADELPHIA MAN CHARGED WITH
VIOLATIONS FOR DUMPING ASBESTOS
Thomas Chau, also known as Tam Minn Chau and Tam Minh Chau, of Philadelphia, Pa. was indicted on Oct. 28, in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on five counts for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act. Chau allegedly was responsible for the illegal removal of asbestos from a former public school building in Philadelphia in 1997. The asbestos was allegedly improperly removed with sledgehammers, was not wet down as required, was disposed of in trash bags instead of the required sealed and marked containers and was allegedly illegally transported and dumped on a Southwest Philadelphia street near a low-income neighborhood. In addition, the defendant is accused of lying to EPA about the removal. Federal regulations for the removal of asbestos are designed to prevent asbestos fibers from becoming airborne because inhaling asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer. If convicted on all charges, Chau faces
a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and/or up to $1.5 million in fines. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center and EPA Region III, the FBI, and the Asbestos Control Unit of the Philadelphia Department of Health and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.