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State settles Aldrich Chemical asbestos violations

Two contractors have settled with the state over charges of violating asbestos removal rules when demolishing the old Aldrich Chemical building as part of the Marquette Interchange reconstruction.

RMT Inc., Madison, and Detroit-based Homrich Inc. will pay a combined $60,000 in penalties to settle charges filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Each company will pay $30,000.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 2002 bought the Aldrich Chemical building in downtown Milwaukee because the structure was in the footprint of the Marquette Interchange reconstruction project. WisDOT contracted with RMT to inspect the building and oversee its demolition. RMT hired Homrich to demolish the building. The demolition project took place between October 2005 and April 2006.

According to the state lawsuit, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources inspectors visited the project several times and found various violations of asbestos remediation rules. The inspectors, according to the lawsuit, saw workers in the driveway outside of the building using heavy equipment to crush debris that contained asbestos.

DNR inspectors, according to the lawsuit, found areas of the building that had not been cleared of asbestos but had been approved for demolition. They also found asbestos-containing material mixed with other construction debris.

The state also charged Premium Abatement Contracting LLC, Brownstown, Mich., with violating state asbestos rules during the demolition project. But Premium Abatement has not yet reached a resolution with the state.

The state sued over the violations in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Nov. 11 and settled the case Nov. 20.

— Sean Ryan

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