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Asbestos to Land Contractor in Prison

Monday, June 2, 2014

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Six months in prison, followed by six months of house arrest, and a $10,000 fine await a South Carolina renovation company owner who contaminated a beach and oceanfront properties with asbestos-laden materials, authorities say.

David Braswell, of Little River, will also serve three years of probation for violating the U.S. Clean Air Act, according to an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Myrtle Beach
U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Amber E.N. Jacobs

Prosecutors say contractor David Braswell allowed asbestos materials to contaminate a portion of Myrtle Beach, SC.

Braswell was sentenced May 22.

Charges against Braswell’s company, Cool Cote LLC, were dropped because it is no longer in business, authorities said.

No Permits, No Protection

According to prosecutors, Braswell and his company began renovating a high-rise beachfront condominium complex in Myrtle Beach in 2009.

When he contracted for the work with Regency Towers, Braswell was made aware that the condo's existing siding contained friable asbestos, authorities said.

However, Braswell neither obtained proper permits for the removal of asbestos nor took legally required precautions for handling the material, according to prosecutors.

Cool Cote employees removed the asbestos-containing siding without proper respiratory protection, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said.

Asbestos
USGS

Braswell failed to obtain proper permits for the removal of asbestos on the high-rise beachfront condominium renovation project and did not take legally required precautions for handling the material, authorities said.

“He directed workers to pressure-wash the material in violation of the work practice standards and, as a result, contaminated a local beach and adjacent properties,” said Maureen O’Mara, special agent in charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in South Carolina.

Condo residents were not notified of the asbestos hazards or provided with any environmental protection, reports said.

Notice to Others

EPA officials said the federal sentence should “serve notice that EPA and its partner agencies remain committed to protecting communities through tough enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws.”

The case was investigated by agents of the EPA and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control; Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim May of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.

Braswell was ordered to report to prison within 30 to 60 days.

   

Tagged categories: Asbestos; Clean Air Act; Criminal acts; Enforcement; EPA; Regulations

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