Iowa Demolition Firm Fined for Asbestos Violations

Jai Santoshi Ma allegedly failed to remove asbestos prior to demolition of truck stop.

October 2, 2013

An Iowa judge has imposed a fine on a demolition firm in the state that allegedly failed to follow state regulations during a demolition project. Iowa’s District Court Judge Paul Miller has assessed an $80,000 civil penalty against the demolition firm Jai Santoshi Ma Inc., and its owner Bhupen Patel, for violating the state of Iowa’s environmental laws in the demolition of a Williamsburg, Iowa, truck stop.

The penalty follows a petition, filed in April 2013 by Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller, against Patel and his corporation. The company had arranged to demolish the truck stop in May and June of 2012. Before beginning the demolition, the defendants allegedly failed to inspect for asbestos and notify the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Sampling by the DNR and Patel’s consultant showed that the demolition waste included asbestos-containing material.
According to the state’s lawsuit:

  • The defendants failed to remove the asbestos prior to the demolition.
  • The defendants buried some demolition debris on-site and sent other debris to a landfill for disposal without identifying the waste as containing asbestos.
  • For several weeks the defendants left the debris in the open air, without wetting it down to prevent the release of asbestos. Not until July 30, 2012, did the DNR confirm that Patel had finally removed the demolition waste piles and the previously buried waste from the site.

The court’s order, through a consent decree, resolved Miller’s lawsuit.

In addition to the civil penalty, the court ordered Patel and his company to refrain from further violations, identify and properly dispose of all asbestos-contaminated soil at the site, and provide the state with related reports, test results, and invoices.