Victory for Community in Asbestos Landfill Case

When Bill and Bonnie Ryther heard about Veit USA – a specialty contracting and waste management company – and their plan to begin disposing of friable asbestos in a landfill close to their Austin, MN home, they were horrified. Aware of the devastating effects of asbestos, they knew they had to take a stand to protect both their property value and their health. According to the Austin Daily Herald, a county board hearing in which the Rythers argued with Veit’s lawyers for more than an hour has led to the board’s denial of Veit’s request.

“I want you to know that if your decision is yes, you’re kind of signing my husband’s and I’s – more or less – death warrants,” an emotional Bonnie protested to board members.

At one point in the argument, the county attorney told Bonnie Ryther to stop arguing or leave the meeting. She promptly left.

Friable asbestos is the most hazardous kind, as it is brittle and breaks easily, allowing it to become airborne and spread for miles. If Veit had gotten the permit, the asbestos would have been shipped in sealed bags and buried under a foot of dirt, with work halting whenever wind speeds were too high. This offered little comfort to the Rythers, however, as even miniscule amounts of friable asbestos escaping into the air could be hazardous to their health.

Property values in that neighborhood would also likely decrease, according to Board Member Jerry Reinartz. Reinartz works in home appraisals and was one of three board commissioners who voted to deny the request. Commissioner Ray Tucker was the sole supporter of the permit.

Friable asbestos is dangerous, and every precaution must be taken to dispose of it properly. This often means that disposal should take place in landfills located far away from our homes and communities. If you are concerned that your neighborhood may be contaminated by asbestos, please contact Sokolove Law to learn about your legal rights and options.