Two NY Companies Penalized for Environmental Violations

New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis recently announced guilty pleas from “Kennedy Valve Company” and “380 Development Company”.

Kennedy Valve Company Admits Dumping Lead-contaminated Wastes

Kennedy Valve Company, an Elmira-based division of McWane Inc., pleaded guilty before Chemung County Court Judge James T. Hayden to two counts of “unlawful dealing in hazardous wastes in the first degree” (a class E felony).

Between 2001 and 2004, Kennedy Valve Company dumped tons of waste in the Chemung County landfill, including melt-dust waste, a product generated by the burning of scrap metal in large furnaces. On behalf of Kennedy Valve Company, Ronald Wagner, the former plant engineer, applied for permits to dispose of the waste at the landfill, claiming the waste to be non-hazardous.

Kennedy Valve Company was fined the maximum amount allowed by law, $300,000.

Ronald Wagner pleaded guilty to one count of “offering a false instrument for filing” (a misdemeanor) for his role in the wrongful disposal of lead-contaminated waste. Wagner, who no longer works for the company, was sentenced to a conditional discharge.

McWane, Inc. agreed to pay $1.5 million to implement a program to reduce childhood lead exposure in Chemung County and clean up lead-contaminated housing in the county. McWane, Inc. cannot seek any tax benefits for funding the lead removal program and it cannot refer to the payment as a “charitable contribution.”

380 Development Company Violates Terms of Beneficial Use Determination

380 Development Company was issued a Beneficial Use Determination (BUD) by the DEC in 2005 that allowed them to bring clean fill that met state requirements onto the site for use in grading. After receiving data that indicated some samples of the fill taken at the site exceeded the state BUD requirements, fill importation was halted in September 2006, and the DEC required 380 Development Company to perform a comprehensive sampling survey of the fill material. The results indicated numerous excedences, which led the DEC to pursue a consent order to address the violations, assess a monetary penalty, and require 380 Development Company to develop plans to remove the more than 44,000 cubic yards of fill material that was found to have exceeded the BUD criteria.

The consent order announced today includes the following requirements:

  • Full removal of all contaminated fill within 6 months of DEC approval of a work plan
  • A penalty of $562,500, half of which is payable immediately
  • Implementation of a stormwater pollution prevention plan and other measures to address drainage issues that impact water and soil quality
  • Protection of tidal wetlands, water bodies and other natural resources on adjacent sites.

The DEC is also investigating the transportation and hauling companies responsible for transporting the contaminated fill onto the 380 Development Company site.