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2005  Compliance information from EPA Newsroom   (Note this information is from EPA News Briefs)

 

August

 

 

Currently No News Briefs available

 

July (Note: only a few listed for July 05)

 

 


(7/27/05) On July 13, Wally El-Beck, of Springfield, Ill., and Moumen Kuziez of St. Louis, Mo., were charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in Little Rock with mail fraud and wire fraud charges. Between Dec. 31, 2000, and March 5, 2003, the defendants allegedly made numerous fraudulent solicitations to industrial waste generators located in Tennessee and Illinois claiming that they would dispose of their waste through incineration. The defendants then allegedly took in 10,000 drums of wastes at the Arkansas Municipal Waste to Energy facility in Osceola, Ark. The wastes in the drums were, in fact, not incinerated, and the companies that generated the wastes were forced to pay a second time to have the drums transported to another site where the wastes would be incinerated according to law. Failing to fulfill contracts to dispose of hazardous waste can create an exposure risk to those who may come into contact with the unprocessed wastes. This case was investigated by the Baton Rouge Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the United States Postal Service Inspector General's Office with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock.

EPA settles American Electric Power and Sewall Gear cases; cites St. Paul, Minn., and Monroe, Mich. companies
CONTACT:
Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050
For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA118
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHICAGO (July 14, 2005) ? U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 recently settled two administrative cases involving hazardous chemical release reporting violations and filed new cases against two companies for chemical recordkeeping violations.

In the first settlement, Indiana Michigan Power Company (d/b/a American Electric Power), Bridgman, Mich., paid $14,769 to resolve EPA's July 2004 complaint for failure to provide prompt notification to national, state and local authorities of a 1,227-pound release of sodium hypochlorite from its Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Bridgman on Nov. 16, 2002. A required follow-up report was also received late, 58 days after the incident. The problem was caused
by a disconnected pipe leak that flowed onto the floor, then into a drain, and ultimately into a reservoir that feeds into a condenser and then into Lake Michigan. Sodium hypochlorite is used as a disinfectant in chlorination systems. It may cause severe skin and eye irritation or burns to broken skin, and is a respiratory irritant. As part of the settlement, the Columbus, Ohio-based company also agreed to install an improved sodium hypochlorite piping, leak detection and spill containment system. The supplemental environmental project is valued at $66,000.

In the second settlement, Sewall Gear Manufacturing, 705 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, Minn., paid $20,000 to resolve an April 2004 complaint. The company was cited for failure to submit to the Minnesota emergency response commission and the St. Paul fire department the required 2002 chemical inventory forms documenting the storage of 10,000 pounds of liquid nitrogen. Hazards associated with liquid nitrogen include frostbite, asphyxiation and implosion, if stored incorrectly. The company was also cited previously for hazardous materials recordkeeping violations.

In the first of two new cases, EPA proposed a $114,877 civil penalty against Loes Enterprises, 1457 Inglehart Ave., St. Paul. The company was cited for failure to prepare or have available material safety data sheets for five different chemicals stored on-site, and failure to submit to the St. Paul fire department and the Minnesota emergency response commission the required 2003 and 2004 chemical inventory forms for these chemicals.

In the other case, EPA proposed a $73,800 civil penalty against Oldcastle Materials (also known as Michigan Paving and Materials), at 3125 E. Front St., in Monroe, Mich. The company was cited for failure to submit to state and local authorities the required 2001 and 2002 chemical inventory forms for up to 56 million gallons of asphalt. Federal laws require notification to local authorities for storage of more than 10,000 pounds of liquid asphalt
cement. Liquid asphalt may cause irritation or burns to the skin, vision loss, abdominal pain or breathing difficulty.
 

(7/05/05) Portland, Maine College of Art Fined for Violating Hazardous Waste Laws
Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865, rosner.sheryl@epa.gov

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2005; Release # sr050702

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a $107,165 penalty against the Maine College of Art in Portland for violating numerous hazardous waste regulations that are part of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

According to a complaint and order filed today by EPA's New England office, Maine College of Art failed to properly determine if wastes were hazardous, thus putting the school's staff and students at risk.

"As a result of the school's violations, students and staff may have been unnecessarily exposed to hazardous waste, and wastes were improperly disposed of as non-regulated solid waste," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

According to the complaint, waste glaze and related floor sweepings were put in the trash or washed down the sink, and acid pickling solution neutralized with marble was washed down the sink. In addition, cans of old waste paint, metal blasting debris and paint thinners and other solvents were managed improperly. Also, the college, which has 400 students, improperly stored and labeled fluorescent bulbs and computer monitors, EPA said.

As a result of the inspection at MCA in April 2004, EPA observed other hazardous waste management violations, such as improperly labeling containers, failing to obtain a site-specific hazardous waste generator identification number, failing to provide containment around containers in case of spills, and failing to keep containers of hazardous waste closed.

According to the complaint, Maine College of Art must comply with federal hazardous waste regulations and correct all violations. In addition, the college must comply with Maine hazardous waste regulations related to fluorescent bulbs and computer monitors, which are known as "universal wastes." The school must submit documents showing compliance.

This penalty action is among numerous enforcement actions EPA's New England Office has taken against universities and colleges across the region as part of its College and University Enforcement and Compliance Initiative. Launched in 1999, the initiative included inspections, extensive compliance assistance, including workshops geared for university environmental compliance personnel, and development of a university compliance web page, which can be visited at http://www.epa.gov/region01/assistance/univ/

 

June

 

 

06/23/2005  

Air Agreement with Animal Feeding Operations
EPA is extending the deadline for the Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) Air Compliance Agreement signup period to July 29, 2005, in order to provide more time for the AFOs operators to make informed decisions about participation. The deadline for operators to sign the agreement was previously extended to July 1, but will now close on July 29. The agency has not changed the agreement since it was published in the Federal Register Jan. 31, 2005. The extension notice will be published in the Federal Register this month. For information about how to sign up, go to: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/agreements/caa/cafo-agr-howtosignup.html The agreement is part of the agency's ongoing effort to minimize air emissions from AFOs and to ensure that they comply with the Clean Air Act and other laws. The period for public comment on the agreement ended May 2, 2005. To view public comments and EPA responses, go to: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/agreements/caa/cafo-agr-response-com.html The primary goals of the Air Quality Compliance Agreement with AFOs are to reduce air pollution, ensure compliance with applicable Clean Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Environmental Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) provisions, monitor and evaluate AFOs emissions, and promote a national consensus on methods for estimating emissions from AFOs. For more information on the agreement, go to: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/agreements/caa/cafo-agr-0501.html [For more information]

06/15/2005  

Region 4 Files Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) with Bill Collins Oil Company, Inc. to Resolve Alleged Violations of Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA)
A Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) with Bill Collins Oil Company has been issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for alleged violations of EPCRA. The company located in Greensburg, Kentucky failed to submit a completed Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory form (Tier II form) for low sulfur diesel fuel. This chemical information must be given to the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee and the fire department with jurisdiction over the facility for the calendar years 2002 and 2003. Under the terms of the CAFO, Bill Collins Oil Company agreed to pay a fine of $8,876.

06/15/2005  

U.S. District Court Enters Remedial Design/ Remedial Action (RD/RA) Consent Decree for the Tennessee Products Superfund Site
The Consent Decree the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed with M.W. Custom Papers, LLC, Reilly Industries, Inc., Southern Wood Piedmont Company, and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has been entered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) are providing for cleanup of a 2 ? mile stretch of Chattanooga Creek in Hamilton County, Tennessee. Estimated cost of the cleanup is $13,148,483. M.W. Custom Papers, LLC, Reilly Industries, Inc., Southern Wood Piedmont Company, also agreed to pay EPA $2,793,912 toward reimbursing the agency's past cleanup costs. Also, U.S. General Services Administration agreed to cash out its liability for $17,400,000 of which $6,519,128 will be used towards EPA's reimbursement.

 

May

 

 

05/25/2005  

Individual and Company Pleaded Guilty to Violating Clean Water Act
David Marshall Haggard, Sr., and the Haggard Company Inc., both of Winchester, Ky., pleaded guilty on May 20, 2005, to knowingly discharging trucked and hauled pollutants directly into the Winchester Municipal Utilities sewer system in violation of national Clean Water Act pretreatment standards. David Marshall Haggard faces maximum potential penalties of three years imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 to $50,000 per day of violation or $250,000, whichever is greater, and supervised release for a period of one year. The company faces maximum potential penalties of a fine not less than $5,000 no more than $50,000 fine per day of violation or $500,000, whichever is greater. The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr.

05/25/2005  

St. Louis Man Sentenced for Environmental, Fraud Violations
Phillip H. Cohn, of St. Louis, Mo., was sentenced on May 20, 2005 before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis, Ill., to 60 months imprisonment and five years supervised release. The court also ordered Cohn to pay $347,200 restitution to East St. Louis, Illinois School District 189. Cohn had previously pleaded guilty to submitting false invoices to School District 189 purportedly for environmental cleanup work at the Clark Middle School site. He then caused the endorsements of environmental companies to be forged on checks issued from the escrow account and used the money for personal expenses. Cohn obtained approximately $350,000 from the escrow account through his criminal conduct. As part of his plea agreement, Cohn agreed to make full restitution to School District 189. On the environmental Clean Air Act charge, Cohn failed to remove substantial quantities of known asbestos containing materials from the historic Spivey Building, the tallest building in East St. Louis, before sending work crews into the Spivey Building to conduct demolition and renovation work. The prosecution was the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; United States Postal Inspection Service; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; United States Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; Illinois Attorney General's Office; and the Illinois State Police. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith.

 

April

 

 

04/27/2005  

Iowa Dairy Farmer Convicted of Violating Clean Water Act
Carl Simon, owner and operator of Simon Dairy in Farley, Ia., was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison, pay a $5,000 administrative penalty that had been assessed earlier by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and serve one year of supervised release on April 6 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids as a result of his conviction on four counts of violating the Clean Water Act. The charges arose from the defendant's illegal dumping of cow manure and waste milk into Hogan's Branch, a tributary of the Mississippi River. The illegal discharges occurred between May of 2003 and January of 2004. Simon illegally disposed of the cow manure by using two foot trenches dug from his dairy manure lagoon to a steep embankment overlooking Hogan's Branch. He illegally discharged the waste milk into Hogan's Branch by using a four-inch PVC pipe. Simon has an extensive enforcement history with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and was previously placed under an administrative order and fined $5,000 for illegal discharges into the Branch. He refused to pay the fine or make any of the changes in his disposal practices required by the administrative order. Dumping cow manure and waste milk into surface waters can make the waters unfit for human use and can harm fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by the Iowa attorney general's office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the IDNR and the St. Louis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Cedar Rapids, Ia.

04/27/2005  

Man Indicted in Idaho Wastewater Treatment Plant Case
Raymond K. Shakleford of Bozeman, Mont., the Idaho representative for Quality Water Systems Inc., also of Bozeman, was indicted on April 13 in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho on multiple counts of mail fraud in connection with false representations that he allegedly made to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in support of applying for permits to construct wastewater treatment systems. Quality Water Systems designs, sells and operates Sequencing Batch Reactor, (SBR), wastewater treatment systems. These systems are specifically designed for communities that cannot be hooked up to public sewers. One of these SBR systems was built on Eagle Island which is located in the middle of the Boise River. Shakleford allegedly used falsified data from this system to request applications for 12 additional systems to be built in Idaho. Some areas of Idaho have a concern regarding nitrate concentration in their groundwater and building wastewater treatment systems based on false data could lead to increased nitrate concentrations in groundwater. The case was investigated by the Boise Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Boise.

04/27/2005  

Minnesota Metal Finisher Sentenced in Sewer Line Case
Kenneth Heroux, owner of Hardcoat Inc., in St. Louis Park, Minn., was sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, serve three years' probation and perform 225 hours of community service on April 14 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He was convicted in November 2004 on two counts of making false statements to officials from the U.S. EPA and Hennepin County. The defendant falsely told state and federal investigators that a sewer pipe used to discharge pre-treated industrial wastes from the Hardcoat facility did not show any problems with leakage. In reality, the pipe had several breaks through which pre-treated industrial wastes could have leaked. The defendant replaced the pipe, but he knowingly made a false statement to officials about the fact that the pipe had been compromised. Sewage pipes that have breaks create a potential source for groundwater pollution. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis.

04/27/2005  

South Carolina Development Company and Individual Plead to Wetlands Violation
Crossings Development Company, LLC, which owns a 429-acre tract in Richland County, S.C., and Matthew D. Congdon of Columbia, S.C., each pleaded guilty on April 8 in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in Columbia to violating the Clean Water Act by filling wetlands without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Despite being advised by two consultants that wetlands existed on the 429-acre tract, the defendants began work in the wetlands without a permit in June 2003. The result was that approximately 45 acres of wetlands were filled or otherwise adversely affected. Wetlands are protected because they not only provide habitat for plants and animals in the watershed, but they absorb nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants before they reach rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. Crossings Development agreed to pay a fine of $1,100,000. Congdon faces a maximum prison sentence of not more than one year and/or a potential fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $25,000 per day of violation, when sentenced. Final sentences will be determined by the court. The case was investigated by the Columbia, S.C., Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Army Corps of Engineers and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Columbia, S.C.

04/13/2005  

Oregon Man Pleads to False Statements About Lead Disclosure Forms
Long Dang Bui, a landlord and manager of multiple properties in Portland, Ore., pleaded guilty on April 5, in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland to making false statements about lead paint disclosure forms. In July 2003, Bui falsely told inspectors from EPA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that lead paint disclosure forms he submitted for four of his tenants were accurate. In reality, the forms had false signatures and were back-dated. Not disclosing the presence of lead paint to tenants can expose tenants, and especially their children, to potential lead poisoning. When sentenced, Bui faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by the Portland Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the HUD Inspector General's Office. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Portland.

04/08/2005  

Georgia Cattle Company, Owner and Farm Manager Sentenced for Causing Bird Kill
Kahn Cattle Company of Bartow County, Georgia; Roger F. Kahn, owner of Kahn Cattle Co.; and Glen M. Bramlett, Farm Manager of the company, were all sentenced on March 24 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Rome, Ga. Kahn Cattle Company was ordered to pay $95,664 in restitution and also pay a $170,000 criminal fine for illegally disposing of hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. One hundred eight thousand dollars of the fine paid by Kahn Cattle Company will be used to acquire and preserve wetlands. Roger Kahn and Glen Bramlett will each spend 60 days in home confinement, perform 160 hours of community service and serve one year of supervised release. Each man will also pay a $15,000 fine for unlawfully killing approximately 3,300 migratory birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. All three defendants were additionally ordered to publish advertisements in trade publications warning others not to use pesticides to illegally kill birds. On or about Jan. 20, 2003, Roger Kahn and Glen Bramlett spread corn laced with a chemical known as Warbex around a pond on property owned by Kahn Cattle Company. The tainted corn was spread in order to kill nuisance birds. Warbex is a topical preparation that is applied to cattle to control insect pests. It contains Famphur, which is a highly toxic substance that is not meant for ingestion. As a result of this act, federal and state agents ultimately collected 3,326 dead birds, including a great horned owl, red-tailed hawks, mourning doves, Canada geese, a mallard duck, a cardinal, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, a brown thrasher, grackles, crows and cowbirds. The case was investigated by the Atlanta Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with support from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta.

04/08/2005  

Ship's Engineer Sentenced for Obstruction of Justice
Edgardo Guinto of the Philippines, Chief Engineer of the Motor Vessel Katerina was sentenced on March 24 to serve eight months in prison by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles for his conviction on charges of obstructing justice by concealing an oil pollution control system bypass pipe from federal investigators. The defendant admitted that he allowed the system to be bypassed, instructed crew members to remove and conceal the bypass pipe when the ship came into Long Beach Harbor and admitted that he made fraudulent entries in the ship's Oil Record Book. The pipe had been used to illegally discharge oil into the Pacific Ocean. Discharging untreated oily bilge water into the Pacific can harm fish and other aquatic life. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the Coast Guard's Investigative Service and the Los Angeles Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

04/08/2005  

Tennessee Drinking Water Plant Operator Pleads Guilty
On March 21, Danny Hurd, former drinking water plant operator for the First Utility District of Hawkins County, Tenn., pleaded guilty to falsifying drinking water measurements. The plea states that from early 2000 to late 2002 the defendant falsified chlorine measurements of drinking water samples to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Falsifying drinking water reports makes it difficult for regulators to determine if the drinking water delivered to households is safe for consumption. The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by the Knoxville, Tenn., Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Greenville, Tenn.

04/01/2005  

Man Who Served Year in Prison for Environmental Fraud Conviction Indicted Again
Michael Klusaritz of Whitehall, Pa., was charged with two counts of false statements and one count of mail fraud on March 16 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The charges state that the defendant allegedly falsified underground storage tank documents between 2001 and 2003. In 1997, the defendant was sentenced to one year in prison, pay $40,000 in restitution, and serve three years probation for his involvement in a laboratory fraud case involving Hess Laboratories in East Stroudsburg, Pa. Falsification of underground storage tank closure reports can prevent regulators from being aware of potential groundwater contamination. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the EPA Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia.

04/01/2005  

President of Former Pennsylvania Laboratory Sentenced for Mail Fraud
Edward V. Kellogg, president, quality control officer, and owner of the former Johnson Laboratories Inc., in New Cumberland, Pa., was sentenced to serve 16 months in prison on March 15 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Allentown, Pa., for his conviction on 34 counts of mail fraud. The defendant will also pay $7,181 in restitution to his victims and pay a $3,400 special assessment. He will serve 36 months under court supervision and provide 80 hours of community service after he is released from prison. From May 1998 through July 2000, Kellogg engaged in a scheme to defraud customers of Johnson Laboratories by billing them for false environmental test reports. Johnson Laboratories was in the business of providing analytical testing of water and wastewater samples. Environmental test results for Volatile Organic Chemicals were falsely prepared, and Kellogg billed customers for the fraudulent test results. Submitting false laboratory results can prevent pollution control programs from being effective. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the EPA Office of Inspector General, the Environmental Crimes Section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Laboratories. EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center provided forensic investigative support. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

04/01/2005  

Second Man Sentenced in Michigan Waste Treatment Facility Case
Gazi George, former vice president of City Environmental Inc., was sentenced on March 16 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, to serve 27 months in prison, pay a $60,000 fine and serve three years under court supervision after release. George had earlier pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. A codefendant, former Plant Manager Donald Roeser, was sentenced in December 2004 to serve 12 months in prison and pay a $60,000 fine. U.S. Liquids, a Texas company that formerly owned City Environmental, paid a $5.5 million fine in 2002. Between 1997 and 1999, the defendants discharged untreated and insufficiently treated waste into the Detroit sanitary sewer system, installed an illegal bypass pipe, and transported hazardous waste to a landfill not licensed to receive hazardous waste. Discharging untreated wastes into sewer systems can create a public health hazard and damage sewage treatment equipment. Improperly disposing of hazardous wastes in landfills can contaminate groundwater and have significant public health implications. The case was investigated by the Detroit Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit.

 

March

 

 

03/24/2005  

Idaho Company Charged with Violating Clean Water Act
Lynn Plasma Inc., of Garden City, Idaho, was charged on March 3 in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Boise with violating the Clean Water Act. Lynn Plasma is in the business of applying plasma coatings to a variety of materials. During the summer of 2002, and again in November of 2002, it is alleged that the defendant discharged industrial wastewater onto its parking lot. In November it is further alleged that the wastewater contained silicone. The wastewater allegedly ran into a storm drain that empties directly into the Boise River which is 200 yards from the drain. Lynn Plasma did not have a permit to discharge industrial wastewater into the storm drain and was warned by regulators in the summer of 2002 that such a permit was necessary. Discharging industrial wastewater into storm drains that connect to rivers can harm fish and wildlife and can make surface waters unusable for drinking water and recreational purposes. The case was investigated by the Boise Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. Assistance was provided by the Idaho State Police, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and the Garden City Public Works Department. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Boise.

03/24/2005  

Oregon Man Sentenced in Illegal Paint Disposal Case
Robert Patrick Mominee, of Salem, Ore., former technical director of Ponderosa Paint, in Boise, Idaho, was sentenced on March 10, in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Boise for illegally transporting hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The defendant was ordered to serve five months in prison followed by five months of home detention. Mominee will also pay a $1,000 fine and serve 36 months supervised release. In 2000, Mominee and his father-in-law Paul Woods had agreed with Ponderosa's owner Dennis Ellis to remove 4,500 gallons of out-of-date, mis-tinted and off-specification paint materials from Ponderosa Paint. Ellis was in the process of selling his company and wanted to avoid paying approximately $150,000 to dispose of the wastes. Therefore, he offered Mominee and Woods $1 per gallon to get rid of the wastes. The wastes were transported to Woods' residence in Wilder, Idaho, where the defendants had begun to burn them in a pit when their scheme was discovered. The illegal burning of waste paint materials in a pit can release hazardous chemicals into the air and may also contaminate groundwater. The case was investigated by the Boise Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, the Idaho State Police, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality with assistance from EPA's Idaho Operations Office and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Boise.

03/16/2005  

Michigan Paint Manufacturer Faces Prison for Illegal Waste Storage
Norman Solomon of Farmington Hills, Mich., president of Michigan Industrial Finishes Corporation, pleaded guilty on Feb. 25 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing more than 2,000 55-gallon drums and other containers of highly-flammable paint-related solvents. In his plea, the defendant admitted to storing the drums illegally for more than 90 days a time between 1997 and 2004 despite the fact that he had entered into a consent decree with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in 1997 to resolve the storage issues. The ignitable spent solvents being stored illegally included xylene, toluene and methyl ethyl ketone. EPA estimates that Superfund cleanup costs at the site will be approximately $4 million. The case was investigated by the Detroit Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division acting in conjunction with the Southeast Michigan Multi-Agency Environmental Task Force. EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center provided technical support. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit.

03/16/2005  

San Diego Printed Circuit Board Company and Officers Plead to Illegal Discharge into Sewers
Moore Printed Circuits (MPC) of San Diego, Calif., and Ghanshyambhai Patel of Chicago, Ill., one of MPC's owners, pleaded guilty on Feb. 18 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego. MPC pleaded to illegal discharges in violation of the Clean Water Act and Patel pleaded to conspiracy. Paramanand Sheth, president of MPC, previously pleaded guilty in the same case. In 2003, pollution control equipment at MPC was broken and the owners decided that it would be too expensive to fix the problem. Instead, workers at the plant tampered with monitoring equipment and manipulated the flow of wastewater when inspectors visited to make it appear as if the facility was complying with its NPDES discharge permit. This prevented the inspectors from knowing that the company was discharging more than its allowed limit of copper into public sewers. San Diego's Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant is not designed to eliminate copper from wastewater. Therefore, copper arriving at the plant is discharged into the Pacific Ocean where it can damage fish and other aquatic life. MPC has agreed to pay a $75,000 fine, the other defendants' sentences are yet to be determined. The case was investigated by the San Diego Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of the EPA Water Program and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego.

03/16/2005  

Utah Man Indicted in Asbestos Case
The indictment of Alan Young of St. George, Utah, in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City was announced on March 3. Young is charged with being involved in a scheme to conceal the illegal handling of asbestos-containing material. Young worked as a supervisor on the Black Ridge Road Project in St. George during January and February of 2001. During this time concrete water pipes containing asbestos were excavated and crushed and federal workplace standards for asbestos were allegedly not followed. Not following workplace standards can expose workers to the inhalation of airborne asbestos which is a cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis" and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the Salt Lake City Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Utah attorney general's Office. It is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. attorney's office in Salt Lake City.

03/13/2005  

Pennsylvania Company President and Firm Sentenced in Clean Water Act Case
BEF Corp. of Allentown, Pa.; and BEF's founder and president, Elward Brewer of Englewood, Fla.; were both sentenced on April 1 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Allentown, Pa., for violating the Clean Water Act by discharging heavy metal-laden acidic waste water into sewers operated by the City of Bethlehem, Pa., and the City of Allentown, Pa. In addition, BEF also pleaded guilty to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and to making false statement to the government. BEF and Brewer were sentenced to jointly pay a $700,000 penalty, including a $50,000 Supplemental Environmental Project to the Wildlands Conservancy. BEF was also ordered to serve a five year period of probation. Elward Brewer was additionally sentenced to six months' house arrest, 36 months of supervised release, and 160 hours of community service in an environmental activity. BEF buys used one-hour photo processing machines, refurbishes them and then resells them throughout the world. During the refurbishing process, BEF generated silver, lead, and chromium laden wastes and acidic wastes which were illegally discharged to the sewers. The other charges arose from BEF's illegal exportation of goods to Iran, and from BEF's practice of discounting the fair market value of its photo labs on Shippers' Export Declarations to help its international customers avoid paying import duties. Unlawfully disposing of heavy metal laden and acidic waste water into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and can interfere with the proper treatment of sewage by sewage treatment facilities. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Custom's Enforcement, the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Export Enforcement, and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Investigative assistance was provided by EPA's Nati

03/09/2005  

Laboratory Owner Who Obstructed EPA Case Sentenced to 46 Months Imprisonment on Second Lab Fraud Conviction
In an effort to create consistent laws across the country EPA will host the first state/industry workshops to develop a model state or local idling law for heavy-duty trucks and buses. About half the country has state or local laws limiting the amount of time a vehicle can idle. Many of these laws differ from state to state creating an inconsistent patchwork of laws which is confusing to truck drivers and fleets. For example, some state laws limit idling to 3, 5, 10, or 30 minutes, and others exempt a truck from the time limit if the temperature is below 10?, 20?, or 32?. EPA will convene representatives from state air pollution control agencies, trucking associations, truck drivers, environmental organizations and health associations. The goal is to develop a consensus approach to eliminating these inconsistencies. The workshops will be held in Washington, D.C. over the next few months. Dates will be announced later. For more information about this effort, or to request participation in the workshops, visit: http://www.epa.gov/smartway .

03/09/2005  

Three Individuals and Two Corporations Found Guilty in Mississippi Wetlands Case
On Feb. 25, Robert Lucas, Jr., of Lucedale, Miss.; Robbie Lucas Wrigley of Ocean Springs, Miss.; and M.E. Thompson, Jr., of D'Iberville, Miss.; were found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in Jackson, Miss., of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally constructing septic systems and dredging and filling wetland areas within a 2620-acre home site development in Vancleave, Miss. Additionally, two of Lucas' corporations, Big Hill Acres Inc., and Consolidated Investments Inc., were found guilty of conspiracy and mail fraud in connection with this case. The defendants misrepresented the habitability of the lots and installed septic systems in saturated wetland soils at the Big Hill Acres development despite the fact that the Mississippi Department of Health had warned them that they were creating a public health threat. The defendants also ignored numerous warnings and cease and desist orders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agencies were concerned that these failing septic systems could possibly contaminate the local drinking water aquifer. The case was investigated by the Jackson, Miss., Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service and U.S. EPA Region IV. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Gulfport, Miss., and the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section in Washington, D.C.

03/03/2005  

El Paso Waste Disposal Company Officers Sentenced in Waste Fraud Scheme
Hector Villa and Denise Y. Villa-Aceves, principals in Villafam Contracting Services, LLC, in El Paso, Texas, were sentenced on Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud the City of El Paso. From April 1999 to July 2003, the defendants were involved in a scheme to submit fraudulent invoices to the city. The defendants inflated the amounts they charged for the hazardous waste their company collected and disposed of under a contract with the city. Hector Villa was ordered to serve five years in prison, pay $685,410.35 in restitution to he City of El Paso and will be placed on three years of court supervision when he is released from prison. Denise Y. Villa-Aceves was sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. The case was investigated by the El Paso Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. The U.S. attorney's office in El Paso prosecuted this case.

03/03/2005  

Minnesota Warehouse/Supply Company Sentenced for Illegal Hazardous Waste Storage and Disposal
Roof Depot, which owned a store in Minneapolis, Minn., was sentenced on Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing and disposing of hazardous wastes. The court ordered Roof Depot to pay a $75,000 criminal fine, pay restitution of more than $36,000 to the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services (HCDES) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, pay an additional $50,000 in restitution to the Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association, provide in-kind contributions of goods worth $190,000 to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, serve five years probation and pay a special assessment of $400. In September 1998, the company brought several pallet-loads of hazardous waste roofing cement, strippers and solvents to its facility on 28th St. in Minneapolis and stored them behind some buildings under a tarp. In March 1999, these hazardous wastes were buried in an unloading dock area that the company was filling and grading. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of the City of Minneapolis and HCDES. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis.

 

February

 

 

02/23/2005  

Ship's Captain Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Justice
Ioannis Kallikis, of Athens, Greece, Captain of the Motor Vessel Katerina pleaded guilty on Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles to charges that he obstructed justice by advising other crew members to destroy and conceal from United States Coast Guard inspectors incriminating telexes relating to the use of bypass pipes on the vessel. The bypass pipe had been used to illegally discharge oil into the Pacific Ocean. Illegally discharging oil into the ocean can harm fish and other aquatic life. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the Coast Guard's Investigative Service and the Los Angeles office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

02/10/2005  

Japanese Transportation Company Will Pay $2 Million for Dumping Oily Wastes in the Pacific Ocean
Fujitrans Corp. of Japan, operator of the Motor Vessel (MV) Cygnus, pleaded guilty to four felony counts of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and was sentenced on Feb. 3 in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland. Fujitrans was ordered to pay a $1,005,000 fine in the District of Oregon and was also ordered to pay a $335,000 fine in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California where part of the case is based. In addition, Fujitrans will pay $495,000 as community service to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and $165,000 to the Channel Islands National Park located in Ventura, Calif. Both of these payments will benefit local natural resource programs. Fujitrans was also placed on three years probation and was ordered to implement an environmental compliance program. The Cyngus is used to import automobiles into the United States. A whistleblower brought the case to the attention of federal authorities in March 2002. The whistleblower was awarded $360,000 from the fine. Crewmen of the Cygnus had used a bypass pipe to discharge oily wastes into the ocean and they had falsified the ship's Oil Record Book which records the disposition of oil and oily wastes on the ship. The discharge of oil into the ocean can be harmful to aquatic life, therefore it is very important that accurate oil record books be kept on ships and that oily wastes not be discharged into the ocean. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Coast Guard. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Portland.

02/03/2005  

Ex-Delaware Official Pleads to Clean Water Act Violation
William Daisey of Milton, Del., pleaded guilty on Jan. 24 in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington to violating the Clean Water Act by directing that water contaminated with hydrocarbons be discharged into a wetland area that borders the Great Marsh which, in turn, borders the Broadkill River. Daisey was the chief of operations for the Dredging Program of the Delaware Division of Soil and Water Conservation which is part of the Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Controls (DNREC). The Dredging Program was located at the site of a closed clam processing plant formerly operated by the Doxsee Food Company. Doxsee sold the site to the DNREC which used it as a base of operations for their dredge vessels, beach restoration equipment and crews. The site contained several tanks of used oil contaminated with water, and Daisey separated a significant quantity of the oil from the water to recover the oil to use as a heating fuel. Water left over from the process was collected in 600 gallon tanks which were then emptied into the wetland between January 2000 and April 2001. The Dredging Program did not have a permit for wetland disposal of this water which was still contaminated with residual oil. Disposing of oily wastes in wetlands can harm fish and wildlife. When sentenced, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Wilmington and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

02/03/2005  

Georgia Cattle Company, Owner and Farm Manager Plead Guilty to Causing Bird Kill
Kahn Cattle Company of Bartow County, Georgia; Roger F. Kahn, owner of Kahn Cattle Co.; and Glen M. Bramlett, farm manager of the company, all pleaded guilty on Jan. 21 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Rome, Ga., to unlawfully killing approximately 3,300 migratory birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In addition, Kahn Cattle Company pleaded guilty to illegally disposing of hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. On or about Jan. 20, 2003, Kahn and Bramlett spread corn laced with a chemical known as Warbex around a pond on property owned by Kahn Cattle Company. The tainted corn was spread in order to kill nuisance birds. Warbex is a topical preparation that is applied to cattle to control insect pests. It contains Famphur, which is a highly toxic substance that is not meant for ingestion. As a result of this act, federal and state agents ultimately collected 3,326 birds, including a great horned owl, red-tailed hawks, mourning doves, Canada geese, a mallard duck, a cardinal, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, a brown thrasher, grackles, crows and cowbirds. The case was investigated by the Atlanta Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with support from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta.

02/03/2005  

Minnesota Electroplating Company and Owner Plead Guilty
Hard Chrome Inc., which operated an electroplating facility in Minneapolis, Minn., pleaded guilty on Jan. 6 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis to illegally storing hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). On the same day, Hard Chrome's owner and operator Richard Walters pleaded guilty to knowingly making and delivering a false writing with respect to Hard Chrome's illegal actions. Subject to approval of the plea by the court, the plea agreement will require Hard Chrome to implement a program to detect violations of environmental law, pay a $250,000 criminal fine, pay $42,800 to the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services, pay $10,000 to the Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association and pay the Minneapolis Fire Department $47,200 to buy hazardous materials response equipment. The Hard Chrome plating facility had plank flooring which had gaps of several inches between the boards. Between July and October 1999, Hard Chrome operated its facility in a manner that allowed hazardous industrial wastes including liquids from plating tanks; tank bottom sludges; and wastewater treatment sludges, containing caustics, acids, zinc, nickel, chromium, cyanide and other heavy metals, to fall through the floor and pool in open lagoons in the facility's basement. Hard Chrome at no time had a RCRA permit to store these hazardous wastes. In addition, on or about Oct. 16, 2000, Richard Walters made and delivered a false writing related to the facility's operations. Open pools of hazardous waste create a serious potential for injury to humans who are exposed to them. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the City of Minneapolis Regulatory Services, Hennepin County's Department of Environmental Services and the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. Investigative support was provided by EPA's National Enforcement Invest

02/03/2005  

Shipping Company is Sentenced for False Oil Record Book
Pacific and Atlantic Corp. of Athens Greece, operator of the Motor Vessel John G. Lemos, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Jan. 19 in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland, Ore., on charges that it falsified the Lemos' Oil Record Book. Pacific and Atlantic was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine, $250,000 of which will be paid to the Columbia River Estuary Coastal Fund. In addition, Pacific and Atlantic must also establish an environmental compliance program for all 10 vessels in its fleet. On Jan. 4, the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office conducted a routine Port State Control Inspection of the Lemos at the Port of Portland. The Lemos is a 473-foot, Cypress-flagged bulk cargo carrier. The inspection of the vessel revealed false entries in the ship's Oil Record Book. After initiating a joint criminal investigation, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and EPA Criminal Investigation Division special agents executed a federal search and seizure warrant on the Lemos and presented evidence to the grand jury three days later. Falsifying an Oil Record Book can prevent regulators from determining that a ship is following required pollution control practices. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Portland.

 

January

 

 

01/13/2005  

Connecticut Man Pleads to Illegal Asbestos Removal
Michael J. Robichaud of Milford, Conn., pleaded guilty on Jan. 5 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven, Conn., to violating the Clean Air Act by directing his employees to remove asbestos without following federal workplace standards. The defendant's company, MJR Contracting LLC, was licensed to provide asbestos abatement services. The violation took place in January 2003, when MJR Contracting was performing asbestos abatement at the Pequot Motor Inn in Fairfield, Conn. Not following federal workplace standards can expose workers to the inhalation of asbestos fibers which can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as asbestosis, and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. When sentenced, Robichaud faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in New Haven.

01/13/2005  

Minnesota Electroplater Charged With Illegal Storage of Hazardous Waste, Owner Charged With False Certification
Hard Chrome Inc., which operated an electroplating facility in Minneapolis, Minn., was charged on Dec. 22 in a document filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis with illegally storing hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The charges also alleged that Hard Chrome's owner and operator Richard Walters knowingly made and delivered a false writing with respect to Hard Chrome's alleged misconduct. The Hard Chrome plating facility had a plank flooring which had gaps of several inches between the boards. Between July and October 1999, Hard Chrome allegedly operated its facility in a manner that allowed hazardous industrial wastes including liquids from plating tanks; tank bottom sludges; and wastewater treatment sludges containing caustics, acids, zinc, nickel, chromium, cyanide and other heavy metals, to fall through the floor and pool in open lagoons in the facility's basement. Hard Chrome at no time had a RCRA permit to store these hazardous wastes. In addition, on or about Oct. 16, 2000, Richard Walters allegedly made and delivered a false writing related to the facility's operations. Open pools of hazardous waste create a serious potential for injury if humans are exposed to them. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the City of Minneapolis Regulatory Services, Hennepin County Environmental Services, and the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. Support was provided by EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and EPA Region 5. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis.



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