The indictment alleges that Mahoney’s Auto Mall and a 33-year old employee buried over 140 gallons of waste on the company’s property. There are 12 charges against the employee and the used car dealership/automotive repair facility.
The company and employee are now facing one felony and eight misdemeanors (environmental law violations) that involve burying hazardous waste. The violations allegedly occurred over the summer when New York Environmental Conservation (DEC) authorities found multiple gallon sized barrels filled with discarded motor oil, oil filters, and discarded tires.
Alleged Violations After DEC made the discovery, they ordered a lab analysis of the liquid. The lab found the hazardous material benzene in each of the four 55-gallon drums. The benzene levels surpassed the allowed .5 mg per liter.
The laboratory analysis also uncovered other hazardous material (toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylene) which can contaminate and pollute the environment. The New York state Attorney General said that these materials are what constitute the waste as hazardous and illegal.
DEC authorities also discovered an unprotected amount of solid waste, which included construction debris and scarps, roofing items, garbage, and linens. This counts as operating an unlawful “solid waste management facility”. The appropriate DEC permits were never applied for nor granted to the auto mall.
The auto repair shop had violations that increased the volume of charges. DEC personnel also saw a channel (concrete) in the repair facility floor, allowing “automotive fluids” to drain into a pit. After draining into this pit, the fluids were moved to the ground beside the auto shop. Tests showed that there was petroleum-contaminated soil beside the auto shop.
Conclusion The felony charge: Third degree public health endangerment, which, if found guilty thereof, comes with a possible prison sentence of four years and a potential fine of up to $150,000. Misdemeanor charges (8) are for fourth degree allegations of “endangering public health, safety or environmental” damage, including a possible one year jail sentence and fines up to $37,500.
The charge of “operating an unpermitted solid waste management facility” provides for maximum fines up to $22,500 per day while in violation. This situation could prove highly costly to the auto mall and the employee if they’re found guilty of the charges, which seems rather likely.
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