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September 30, 2013

Judge Orders West Des Moines Company, Owner to Pay $80,000 in Environmental Case

Company violated asbestos laws in Williamsburg truck stop demolition

(MARENGO, Iowa)  An Iowa County District Court judge today assessed an $80,000 civil penalty against a West Des Moines company and its owner for violating state environmental laws in the demolition of a Williamsburg truck stop.

Iowa District Court Judge Paul D. Miller assessed the penalty against Jai Santoshi Ma Inc., and owner Bhupen Patel of West Des Moines, for environmental violations during and after demolition of the former Middle America Truck Stop.

According to a petition filed in April by Attorney General Tom Miller, Patel and his corporation, the site owners, arranged to demolish the truck stop in May and June of 2012.  Before beginning the demolition, the defendants failed to inspect for asbestos and notify the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Sampling by the DNR and Patel’s consultant showed that the demolition waste included asbestos-containing material.

According to the lawsuit:

  • The defendants did not remove the asbestos prior to the demolition.
  • The defendants buried some demolition debris on-site and sent other debris to a landfill for disposal without identifying the waste as containing asbestos.
  • For several weeks the defendants left the debris in the open air, without wetting it down to prevent the release of asbestos.  Not until July 30, 2012, did the DNR confirm that Patel had finally removed the demolition waste piles and the previously buried waste from the site.

The court’s order, through a consent decree, resolved Miller’s lawsuit.

In addition to the civil penalty, the court ordered Patel and Jai Santoshi Ma to refrain from further violations, identify and properly dispose of all asbestos-contaminated soil at the site, and provide the state with related reports, test results, and invoices.


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