Wis. AG Settles with Texas Corp. in Asbestos Case

January 27, 2005

Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager announced that her office has reached a settlement with Bodycote Thermal Processing Inc., of Texas, over its violations of state asbestos handling regulations.

To settle the case, Bodycote agreed to pay a total of $42,500 in forfeitures, surcharges, and costs.

Bodycote Thermal Processing Inc., is based at 5001 LBJ Highway, Dallas, Texas and has business operations at 16167 West Rogers Drive, New Berlin, Wisconsin. The violations occurred at a facility Bodycote formerly operated at 4210 Douglas Street, Racine, Wisconsin.

The complaint alleged that in October 2003, Bodycote performed renovation work at its Douglas Street facility in anticipation of the sale of the industrial building. As part of the planned renovation work, Bodycote determined that it would remove and recycle for scrap metal a number of large industrial ovens. The recycling began by Bodycote employees using a fork lift to transport two of the ovens outside of the facility. The ovens were subsequently loaded into a “dumpster truck” for transport to a yard.

The two ovens removed from Bodycote’s Douglas Street facility contained friable asbestos-containing insulating material. During removal of the ovens one of the ovens fell off the fork lift and was damaged. The damage caused some of the asbestos-containing material to become dislodged from the oven and fall to the floor. Some of the asbestos-containing insulation was reportedly left on the floor and was later driven over by vehicular traffic.

“When asbestos is not properly removed, the hazard to human health and to the environment can be serious, even deadly,” Lautenschlager said. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to enforce our tough laws on asbestos removal requirements.”

The Department of Justice filed the lawsuit at the request of the Department of Natural Resources. Bodycote cooperated with the Department of Natural Resources in the investigation and proper clean-up of the asbestos-containing debris discovered at the site.

Racine County Circuit Court Judge Faye Flancher approved the settlement on Jan. 18, 2005.

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