Recently, a 42-year-old Long Island man pleaded guilty to dumping tons of contaminated construction debris in four different locations. The debris contained hazardous substances including asbestos and pesticides.
Thomas Datre Jr. of Suffolk County will be sentenced to up to three years in prison and is responsible for the restoration of the contaminated areas. His father and three other family-owned companies have also been on trial since February for the disposal of the debris, which was passed off as donations to a local soccer field and foundation for Veteran’s housing development. The debris was also dumped within wetlands in the county, endangering drinking water.
The attorneys for the Datres’ argued that the donations posed no health risk and were “perfectly legal.” Asbestos fibers pose risks to human health when asbestos-containing materials are breaking down or friable. Scattering loose debris in public places is bound to be inhaled or ingested by nearby individuals, posing a hazard to their health. Asbestos fibers can become trapped within the body, which can result in fatal illnesses and cancer.
Prosecutors said the defendants were motivated by greed. By dumping the contaminated debris, the Datres were working to avoid fees and permits. Datre Jr. pleaded guilty to third-degree endangerment to public health, safety, or the environment. What would you do if recreational sites in your county were contaminated with hazardous substances like asbestos?
Source: CBS New York