Green Lake County Foundry Exposed Asbestos To Workers

3/10/17 – A Jefferson County man is among those indicted in connection with environmental crimes at a Green Lake County foundry. Peter J. Mark of Ixonia was the Corporate Safety and Environmental Director of the now shuttered Grede Foundry in Berlin. The 53-year-old Mark is charged along with two former employees who now live in Ohio: 51-year-old Steven O’Connell and 40-year-old Christie McNamee and the corporate owners and operators of the facility. The seven-count indictment alleges charges of Conspiracy, Obstruction, Negligent Endangerment and violations of the Clean Air Act. Federal prosecutors say that in 2012, workers at the foundry were ordered to assist in the refurbishment of a heat-treat oven which contained dangerous amounts of asbestos. Proper asbestos abatement procedures were not implemented by the corporation or its managers. Workers were provided with inadequate safety equipment and were not told that the material they were removing contained asbestos. This contaminated material was then hauled away to a landfill by unsuspecting trash collectors. The indictment further alleges that Mark, O’Connell, McNamee, and the corporate defendants conspired to obstruct state and federal investigators during subsequent inquiries into the presence of asbestos during the refurbishment of the oven. If convicted, Mark, O’Connell, and McNamee face maximum penalties ranging of between 11 and 41 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines while the corporate defendants face millions of dollars in criminal penalties.