Posen Construction has received a fine by the state after it was discovered that the company had mishandled some hazardous asbestos.
Posen was fined after health officials found that the company had been disposing ungrouted debris from asbestos pipes at the site of a new retention lake. The pipes were from the Three Oaks construction site in Lee County where the company was performing work. The fine of $6,500 was actually for failing to inform the proper authorities that it was working with asbestos, not for intentionally dumping asbestos illegally.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection was tipped off by Posen employees who told the agency which areas of the lake they had disposed of the material according to orders by the company. Investigators with the DEP performed a search and found truckloads of asbestos fragments in various areas of the lake.
A DEP manager noted that since the site already had so much debris, they would have never noticed the asbestos there had the employees not come forward. However, even with the testimonies given been employees to government officials, the manager said it is difficult to prove if the asbestos had been left there intentionally.
Roy Bartlett, a Posen project engineer, denied the company knew the pipes contained asbestos. He said the company was ignorant of the fact that the pipes were contaminated and treated them as if they were regular plastic pipes. He also added that the individuals who stepped forward were disgruntled employees wanting to hurt the company’s reputation.
Posen Construction agreed to pay the expenses of assessing the situation and cleaning up the asbestos problem, which was estimated to be over $12,000.