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Criminal HazMat Fines Lodged in Three Incidents

August 9th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

Authorities filed charges against a Michigan man they said stored about 500 barrels of hazardous chemicals on his property, leading to a $1.3 million federal and state cleanup. The 52-year-old was arraigned in district court on two counts of knowingly releasing or causing the release of a hazardous substance. The charges stem from a 2008 fire at the suspect’s house, which is about 10 miles southwest of Kalamazoo. Firefighters responding to the fire said they found hundreds of barrels of hazardous waste in the woods behind the house. Environmental cleanup crews said the barrels contained substances that included herbicides, pesticides, mercury, and flammable materials. In another incident, owners of two old industrial sites are under investigation for improperly storing dangerous chemicals. Located in South Carolina, there are two separate investigations. One is at the former American Screw and Rivet plant and the other is the old Flex-A-Form plant, coincidently about a mile away from American Screw and Rivet. Investigators said these facilities operated without permits for years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said clean-up at the two sites could cost taxpayers around $2 million. At the Flex-A-Form site, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control documents show the owner told investigators, “We used to pour the chemicals out the door.” The EPA said they will try to get money from the property owners to clean-up these sites. Both sites could be in violation of the state pollution and hazardous waste management acts. The owners of the properties could be fined up to $25,000 for each day of violating the law, and they could spend up to 2 years in prison, if charges are made, and if they are found guilty.

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