A construction company responsible for contaminating the Chadakoin River with asbestos in 2012-13 was sentenced to two years of probation and a fine of $100,000 on Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Buffalo.
Lycoming Construction Services, LLC., based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, violated the Clean Air Act when it ignored a survey identifying asbestos and continued with the demolition of Dahlstrom industrial complex, located at 443-499 Buffalo St., from January 2012 to November 2013.
Water contaminated with dust and debris from the demolition was allowed to flow offsite directly into the Chadakoin River.
“They got themselves into trouble,” said Vince DeJoy, director of Jamestown’s Department of Development. “You had a contractor that was from out of state and didn’t quite understand the rules and regulations of the state of New York.”
Leo M. Williams, 66, the owner of Lycoming, was sentenced to one year of probation and a fine of $25,000 for violating the Clean Water Act.
The company, as part of the sentencing, was also ordered to form an environmental training program for its employees and Williams was ordered to pay $5,000 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to resolve OSHA violations.
DeJoy said private contractors are prone to such negligence because of limited oversight.
“(Asbestos) surveys are something that (the DoD does) for every property, especially residential properties in which we act as a general contractor,” he said. “(Private contractors) are not nearly as cautious and careful as we are. We try to follow every rule and regulation to the letter.”
Lycoming Construction Services, LLC pleaded guilty to the violation in April before Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny.
The conviction is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Investigators of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police and the Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation. Additional assistance was provided by the New York State Department of Labor, Asbestos Control Bureau and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.