Woodbridge Contractor Arrested on Faking Asbestos Removal Credentials at 9 Township Schools
Nine Woodbridge schools were treated for asbestos removal by a township contractor who allegedly didn't have the credentials to do the hazardous work.
A Woodbridge contractor has been charged by a state grand jury with dozens of counts of unlicensed asbestos abatement in connection with asbestos work that his unlicensed business performed at numerous homes and schools, including nine schools in Woodbridge Township.
William T. Muzzio Jr., 50, of Woodbridge, was charged with 10 counts of unlawful release of a toxic pollutant, 36 counts of removing or encapsulating asbestos without a license, one count of theft by deception, and two counts of forging documents saying he was licensed to remove the hazardous material, according to the NJ Attorney General's office.
State agencies began investigating Muzzio and his business, Citadel Environmental Consultants, in March after a daycare facility in Union Township hired Muzzio to remove pipe insulation containing asbestos from its basement boiler room and it was discovered that Muzzio wasn't licensed to perform the work.
The Department of Labor and Division of Criminal Justice conducted inspections in March at the daycare facility and allegedly discovered dust and debris containing asbestos in the boiler room and an adjacent crawl space.
In Woodbridge, Muzzio had allegedly performed unlicensed asbestos encapsulation at nine public schools between April, 2011 and June, 2011. Rather than remove the asbestos, Muzzio was hired to seal the insulation that contained asbestos to prevent it from being broken up and released into the air. In four of the schools, he allegedly removed asbestos floor tiles.
The Woodbridge schools which Muzzio allegedly treated for asbestos are:
- Woodbridge High School, Woodbridge
- Colonia High School, Colonia
- John F. Kennedy High School, Iselin
- Kennedy Park School, Iselin
- Matthew Jago Elementary School, Sewaren
- Oak Ridge Heights School, Colonia
- Woodbridge Middle School, Woodbridge
- Ross Street School, Woodbridge
- Fords Middle School, Fords
Muzzio was paid $15,675 by the Woodbridge Board of Education for the work. For that, he was also charged with theft by deception for "creating or reinforcing" the perception he was licensed to perform asbestos removal.
The Division of Criminal Justice expanded the investigation after the Union daycare center discovery and identified 35 sites, including schools, an apartment complex and 21 homes, where Muzzio allegedly performed unlicensed asbestos abatement between April 2011 and May 2012. He allegedly caused the unlawful release of asbestos at nine homes, where later testing allegedly identified remaining “friable” asbestos, meaning asbestos-containing material that, when dry, may be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand. Those homes, which are listed in the indictment, are in Middlesex, Union, Essex and Hudson counties. He is also alleged to have performed unlicensed asbestos abatement in Morris, Hunterdon, Warren, Monmouth and Ocean counties.
All of the charges Muzzio faces are third degree crimes, except for the 10 counts of the unlawful release of a toxic pollutant, which are crimes in the second degree. On those charges alone, Muzzio can face from 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine each. The other charges carry lesser penalties.
He is being held on $75,000 bail in Union County Jail.