Denver man goes to jail for improper asbestos disposal

A sample of blue asbestos shows its fibrous nature.

Certified asbestos expert was stashing waste at a Public Storage facility

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A Denver man has been sentenced to six months in jail and will pay $435,477 in restitution for improper disposal of asbestos at a Public Storage facility on West Hamden.

James Robert Soyars, Jr., age 46, was sentenced last week by Chief U.S. District Judge Wiley Y. Daniel after an EPA investigation. Learn more about asbestos at this EPA website.

Soyars was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Feb. 10, 2010. He pled guilty before Chief Judge Daniel on October 27, 2010 to two counts of failure to deposit asbestos- containing waste material as soon as practical at a regulated waste disposal or conversion site. Both counts are felonies.

“The improper handling of asbestos is a crime because even minimal exposure is dangerous,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “If asbestos becomes airborne, and if it becomeslodged in a person’s lung, the result could be cancer. Thanks to the excellent work of the EPA Criminal Enforcement Office, a man illegally handling this dangerous material has been punished for his crime.”

According to court documents, James Soyars, a certified asbestos abatement supervisor, owned and operated Talon Environmental, Inc. Between Sept. 9, 2005 and August 28, 2006, Soyars committed two felony crimes by knowingly violating work practice standards by failing to comply with the requirement to deposit asbestos-containing waste material as soon as was practical at a regulated waste disposal or conversion site.

Soyars stored and directed Talon Environmental, Inc. employees to store asbestos-containing waste material at a Public Storage location at 5500 West Hampden, in Denver, Colorado. Public Storage was not a regulated waste disposal or conversion site authorized to receive asbestos-containing waste material.

Soyars did not properly label the bags containing the asbestos-containing materials. He also failed to mark the vehicles used to transport the asbestos-containing material to the Public Storage location. Talon Environmental was an abatement company that had been hired to remove the asbestos- containing materials which are the subject of this case from buildings which were being renovated in Greeley, Colorado Springs, and Aurora.

“Asbestos can cause cancer and other serious respiratory diseases and it must be handled safely and legally,” said Lori Hanson, Special Agent in Charge of the EPA’s criminal enforcement office in Denver. “Anyone who ‘cuts corners’ by avoiding the costs of handling or disposing of asbestos properly will be prosecuted.”

This case was investigated by theEPA. Soyars was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Kaufman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney from the EPA, Linda Kato.

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One Response

  1. Very good, you followed the party line perfectly. Too bad Colorado is a self governing State, allows for storage, and felt no laws were violated. Too bad you missed the part about the waste being less than 1% asbestos, so it is below the regulatory threshold. Too bad you missed the part about my testifying as an expert witness against Kaufman and Kato in a separate case that went to trial 16 days after they started this one against me.

    I received no fine, by the way. It is a restitution payment to Public Storage of Colorado for the money they spent to clean their entire facility. Again, too bad not a single sample detected asbestos above naturally occurring background levels, and no such cleanup was warranted or ordered.

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