|Anthony Di Marco points to a van filled with bags of asbestos that were taken shortly after he and Michael Donnelly discovered them dumped outside.|
While investigating a wage and hour dispute in Elmhurst last week, New York City District Council of Carpenters Representative Michael Donnelly found a little more than he had bargained for.
On Jan. 8, Donnelly said he found two 30-yard dumpsters containing plastic bags marked “DANGER ASBESTOS” outside of 74-16 Grand Ave – the site of his investigation with Cobex Inc., a general construction company.
“I was there with my colleague Anthony Di Marco investigating a wage and hour case at Corbex Inc., and as we were exiting the building, we saw the containers in front of the door,” he said. “They were right there in plain sight, improperly sealed.”
According to Donnelly, as he and his colleague began looking at the bags, two men pulled a white truck with a New York registration of 81891-JW into the area and began loading the containers in, attempting to flee.
“We started taking pictures when this happened,” Donnelly said. “It appeared as though they were trying to cover up the dumping.”
Upon reporting the incident to the authorities, Donnelly stated that the “46 Battalion instructed FDNY Hazmat 1 to stop and detain the occupants pending the arrival of authorities.”
“There are about 10 asbestos remediation companies located at this address,” a Corbex employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, said. “We do not do any work with asbestos and although the authorities are investigating the companies in this building, it seems as though no one wants to come forward and take the blame.”
While the case is currently under investigation by the Dept. of Sanitation, DSNY Spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins has confirmed that “the bags have been removed from the location.”
In addition to providing his account to Sanitation Police Officer Brian Morgan, the Dept. of Environmental Protection and the 104th Precinct, Donnelly said that he has also forwarded his complaint to Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), whose district borders the location of the dumping site.
“There’s no excuse for a company to brazenly break the law and dump toxins in our neighborhood,” Crowley said. “Whoever is responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and clean this mess.”
Calls made to asbestos remediation companies located within 74-16 Grand Ave. were not returned as of press time.
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Reach Reporter Megan Montalvo at (718) 357-7400 Ext. 128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.