Woman is indicted in removal of asbestos siding

Source: http://www.telegram.com, April 19, 2012
Posted in: Rockhill Environmental Newsletter, June 2012

A North Grafton property owner has been indicted for allegedly paying two tenants to remove asbestos from her Springfield rental property.

Susan B. Nissenbaum, 59, was indicted April 12 by a Hampden County grand jury on three counts of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act for failure to file a notice of asbestos removal with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. She is also charged with improper asbestos removal, and improper asbestos storage.

Ms. Nissenbaum allegedly paid the tenants to remove asbestos siding from the single-family rental property in Springfield in 2010. She allegedly failed to warn the tenants of the dangers associated with asbestos and did not ensure that they had proper protective equipment or training in removal procedures, according to authorities. After it was removed, the asbestos was stored in torn bags on the property. As a result, authorities allege that the tenants, their children, and others were exposed to asbestos.

The case is being prosecuted by the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

“We allege that this defendant put her tenants at risk by having them unsafely remove asbestos from the property and failing to warn them of the dangers involved,” Ms. Coakley said yesterday in a news release.

Authorities allege that although Ms. Nissenbaum knew that the siding contained asbestos, she did not inform her tenants how asbestos needed to be handled and failed to ensure that they had the proper training or equipment to do so. Additionally, Ms. Nissenbaum allegedly failed to ensure that the tenants followed proper procedures to prevent asbestos fibers from being released into the air.

Ms. Nissenbaum allegedly failed to notify the DEP before beginning work on the project. In November 2010, after being contacted by a licensed asbestos contractor, state environmental officials inspected the site and found the alleged improper removal, storage and release of asbestos.

The state Department of Labor Standards requires that the removal of asbestos be performed by a licensed contractor, and state environmental regulations require that contractors must provide notification of when the removal will occur and follow standards for removal, storage, and disposal of the asbestos.

A Hampden County Grand Jury returned indictments against Nissenbaum on April 12, and she is scheduled to be arraigned in Hampden Superior Court at a later date.

Ms. Nissenbaum was barred from practicing law in Massachusetts in 2005. A phone listed for her is disconnected.

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