LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, Uni…

LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Ricky Langlois, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, Miami, and Ataya Satyal, Environmental Manager, Palm Beach Health Department, announced that defendant Terry Dykes was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley, in Ft. Lauderdale. Dykes was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release. He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the federal Clean Air Act’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) pertaining to asbestos.

The two felony charges against Dykes arose from his role as the demolition and renovations subcontractor and on-site supervisor during the October 2000 – March 2001 conversion of the former Northwood Hotel, located at 401-405 Northwood Road, in West Palm Beach, from a hotel to an apartment and retail complex. Federal law mandates that “owners and operators,” including on-site supervisors, of demolitions and certain renovations involving asbestos, a hazardous air pollutant, comply with various work practice standards when handling regulated materials containing asbestos, such as pipe and boiler insulation and asbestos containing tile. The federal asbestos work practice standards require agency notification and specific handling and disposal processes for covered demolition and renovation operations involving asbestos.

Dykes was convicted of knowingly failing to file the written advance10-day notice in connection with the demolition or renovation of the Northwood facility, which contained asbestos material, and of knowingly violating other NESHAP work practice standards concerning the handling and disposal of regulated asbestos containing materials. These regulations are designed to protect workers and the public from exposure to the risks of airborne asbestos.

During trial, there was evidence that Dykes directed several employees and temporary workers from a local labor pool to improperly remove boiler and pipe insulation containing asbestos material from the Northwood facility, without adequately wetting such insulation and without adequately providing the workers with the necessary respiratory equipment and trained asbestos on-site supervisor. The evidence also showed that Dykes directed that the asbestos material be disposed together with other construction site debris, rather than at a waste disposal site that could legally accept asbestos containing waste.

United States Attorney Acosta stated, “Dykes’ polluted our environment by illegally dumping hazardous materials in a public landfill, threatening the safety and well-being of area residents. Today’s prison sentence reflects our commitment to enforcing laws that protect our environment and our community’s well-being.”

Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated, “Dykes illegally removed and disposed of regulated asbestos materials in a public landfill that was not designed to receive harmful substances such as asbestos. This sentence sends a clear message that environmental crimes that put the public’s health at risk will not be tolerated. The EPA is committed to vigorously enforcing the laws governing the safe handling and disposal of asbestos and other hazardous substances.”

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division and the Palm Beach County Health Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose A. Bonau of the Economic and Environmental Crimes Section, and Trial Attorney Jennifer Whitfield of the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

A copy of all press releases may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .

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