Authorities recently determined that a Woodbridge, NJ-based contractor performed illegal asbestos removal at more than 21 homes, 13 schools, and a child care center, exposing adults and children alike.
The Asbestos Control and Licensing Act (ACLA) stipulates that businesses must have a license to remove or encapsulate asbestos. According to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, William T. Muzzio pleaded guilty to 36 counts of violating the ACLA, a third-degree offense, and 10 counts of unlawfully releasing toxic pollutants through faulty asbestos removal, a second-degree felony.
Under the plea agreement, Muzzio will serve 4 years for the third-degree offenses and 7 years concurrently for the second-degree offenses. He is also required to pay restitution of $19,848. Muzzio will be officially sentenced on June 27.
Attorney General: Sending a Message to Contractors
Asbestos removal is a hazardous job that only trained and licensed professionals can perform safely. When an unqualified individual attempts to remove this dangerous substance, the results are disastrous. Incorrect removal of asbestos-containing materials releases microscopic asbestos fibers into the air.
Exposure to asbestos, even in small amounts, can lead to mesothelioma and other deadly diseases. Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said, "This prison sentence should send a strong deterrent message to any contractors who would consider engaging in illegal asbestos work."
Muzzio and his business were investigated after removing pipe insulation containing asbestos from a child care center in Union County. The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) had previously inspected the building and required the facility to remove the pipe coverings in its boiler room before the approval of its child care license.
After Muzzio's business performed the asbestos removal, DHSS found out that he was not licensed for asbestos removal. The matter was referred to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which enlisted the help of the Division of Criminal Justice.
Muzzio Broke the Law at More Than 30 Sites
At the child care center, the Division of Criminal Justice found asbestos-contaminated dust and debris in the boiler room and adjacent crawl space.
Because of their discovery, the Division of Criminal Justice expanded its investigation to other sites where Muzzio had performed unlawful asbestos removal. It found that Muzzio performed more than 30 unlicensed asbestos jobs between April 2011 and May 2012 in Union, Morris, Middlesex, Hudson, and Ocean counties.