Dover Twp. man pleads guilty to mishandling asbestos at site of planned school
A Dover Township man has pleaded guilty to violating a Clean Air Act standard, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Ty Allen Barnett entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to the improper handling and removal of regulated asbestos-containing material as required by federal law, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg on Friday. A 10-count indictment filed in 2020 charged Barnett and several companies and individuals:
- Lobar Inc.
- First Capital Insulation Inc.
- Francis Richard Yingling Jr.
- Dennis Lee Charles Jr.
- M&J Excavation Inc.
- John August Sidari Jr.
According to U.S. Attorney John C. Gurganus in the news release, the criminal charge against Barnett is because of his actions as the project supervisor for contractor First Capital Insulation Inc.
As previously reported by The York Dispatch, Lobar Inc., which is based in Dillsburg, pleaded guilty in February and could be fined up to $400,000 for failing to properly remove asbestos from the site of a planned elementary school.
Terms of the deal call for Lobar to face a $400,000 fine, three years' probation and an order for the business to create an environmental compliance health and safety program, as well as a procedure for employees to report environmental violations, court documents show. Five other counts against the company would be dismissed.
Lobar was hired in December 2014 as the general contractor on a project to demolish a former weaving mill and build a new elementary school for the Berwick Area School District in Luzerne and Columbia counties.
Before work started, findings from environmental assessments were shared with Lobar and its subcontractors, identifying hazardous substances including asbestos in the former mill, according to details in the federal indictment.
The project got underway in January 2015, with the case alleging Lobar and other defendants began demolishing the mill before the asbestos was properly removed. The work continued until U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff halted the project in February 2015, court documents show.
The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go to trial in June, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Reporter Aimee Ambrose contributed to this report.
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