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WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. - In papers filed today in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, Christopher M. Arader, president and owner of Arader Tree Service, Inc, has been charged with the unlawful removal and disposal of asbestos-containing material from his company’s warehouse in West Conshohocken, Pa.
The government alleges that Mr. Arader recruited employees to remove approximately 1200 linear feet of asbestos-containing pipe insulation from a portion of the warehouse occupied by Murlin Chemical Company.
According to the three-count criminal information, Mr. Arader knowingly violated federal Clean Air Act regulations on asbestos during a June 1997 to February 1998 renovation at the warehouse, located at 10 Balligomingo Road. Mr. Arader and his wife purchased the property in May 1997 as the new location for the Arader Tree Service landscaping business.
Mr. Arader allegedly supervised the work, which involved the accumulation of more than 50 bags of asbestos-containing waste material. The government alleges that Mr. Arader arranged for the unlawful disposal of this material at several unauthorized locations, including the Balligomingo Road property; an unimproved lot owned by Mr. Arader at 1151 Second Ave., Upper Providence Twp., Pa.; and several commercial dumpsters.
The criminal information filed today alleges that Mr. Arader violated Clean Air Act regulations by failing to wet and carefully handle the asbestos during stripping and removal operations, failing to store asbestos-containing waste in leak-tight containers with required warning labels, transporting asbestos without required warning signs during loading and unloading, and disposing of asbestos waste at unauthorized sites. The information also charges that Mr. Arader failed to provide prior written notice to EPA of the asbestos removal operations.
"Asbestos regulations are designed to protect the public from a dangerous air pollutant. The public expects and deserves full compliance with these requirements," said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe. "This prosecution shows the hard line that federal and state law enforcement officials are taking against asbestos violators."
Asbestos, which is regulated under the federal Clean Air Act and the Superfund statute as a hazardous air pollutant, was once heavily used in insulation and other building materials. Intact and undisturbed asbestos material does not pose a health risk. Asbestos becomes a health hazard when it releases fibers into the air due to damage, disturbance, or deterioration. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer and asbestosis, a serious respiratory disease.
EPA regulations impose rules for renovation and demolition activities that are likely to disturb asbestos-containing material. To reduce the risk of asbestos emissions, the regulations require adequate wetting and proper disposal of asbestos-containing materials. EPA also requires that a trained supervisor oversee asbestos removal activities.
The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia and EPA’s regional office in Philadelphia.
Note: An information is merely a formal accusation and is not itself proof of guilt. A criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty in court.