The old McMillian School on Detroit’s West End Street was more than 100 years old and needed to be demolished, according to a story by Detroit’s WDIV published yesterday.
According to court documents, Badhwar and his company Ashok Badhwar’s Glo Wrecking Co., knew there was asbestos in the building but failed to follow safety procedures during demolition and disposal, possibly endangering those who live nearby.
Badhwar pled guilty to violating the Clean Air Act in federal court. He told Local WDIV 4’s Kevin Dietz that he did not intentionally spread asbestos, which can cause very dangerous forms of cancer like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis into the neighborhood where people were living, nor was he trying to save money by skipping the expensive demolition costs. He said simply, his workers messed up.
When the crews busted up the debris, they loaded it on a truck and headed to a landfill outside of Canton—a landfill that does not accept hazardous material. A Department of Environmental Quality inspector spotted the truck leaving the site and stopped it before it could unload. Tests showed the truck was loaded with asbestos.
Badhwar told Local 4 it was all just a misunderstanding. He also said there was no danger to families in the neighborhood, because he said no one lives in the area. Badhwar may not have noticed the families living next door because according to federal documents, he was not on site during the demolition. Documents reveal, no foreman or any employee with experience with asbestos removal was at the property, according to court documents.
According to WDIV, based on information obtained to the contrary, there are several homes close by where families with children live and across the street are a church and more homes.
Badhwar will be in Detroit in Federal Court on May 3, 2012. He will be facing a federal judge who will decide if he deserves fines, prison time, or possibly both.