Messy cleanup, 3,300 tons of asbestos left in open air

Messy cleanup, 3,300 tons of asbestos left in open air

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A Utah businessman is facing federal charges after he allegedly failed to clean up over 3,300 tons of asbestos-containing debris following a hotel demolition in Tooele. Daniel J. Brett, 68, of Murray, allegedly violated the federal Clean Air Act and faces three related charges. According to court documents, Brett and his business partner knew that the Broadway Hotel, located on North Broadway Avenue near a residential and mixed-use neighborhood, contained asbestos throughout the building. Prosecutors said the hotel had asbestos in its insulation, flooring and roofing, which the owners have reportedly known about since 2011. According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos fibers are spread through the air and easily attach to homes and workplaces, as well as lungs if breathed in. Over time, those fibers can cause scarring and inflammation, leading to serious health problems, including cancer. The hotel was reportedly part of a redevelopment plan but before work could begin, it caught fire in July 2020 and was deemed “structurally unsound,” according to prosecutors. Brett and his business partner coordinated with an excavation company that was allegedly untrained and uncertified to work with asbestos-containing material to demolish the hotel. Once demolished, prosecutors said Brett took responsibility for cleaning up the debris after his business partner passed away in 2021, though he allegedly failed to do so. The asbestos-containing debris allegedly sat on the demolished lot for 15 months before the United States Environmental Protection Agency moved to pick it up. The emergency removal allegedly cost the EPA $1.1 million. Prosecutors allege Brett did not keep the demolition pile continually wet, as required by the Clean Air Act to help prevent the spread of asbestos fibers. He was then charged with the three counts of violating the Clean Air Act. An initial court appearance is scheduled for March 14 at 1:00 p.m. in Salt Lake City. Charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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