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October 2004

Hazardous Waste Disposal Results in Prison Sentence and Fine

The U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile sentenced Don M. White to six months in federal prison and imposed restitution of $20,000 for cleanup costs associated with the illegal transport and disposal of hazardous waste in violation of state and federal laws. The Court also sentenced Mr. White to three years supervised release upon completion of his incarceration. Mr. White’s guilty plea and subsequent sentencing was the culmination of an undercover investigation of suspected illegal hazardous waste dumping discovered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) on October 31, 2003, in Mobile.

The ADEM Mobile Branch personnel responded to a complaint that lead to the discovery of 35 drums and several five-gallon containers of hazardous waste in an industrialized area of Mobile. A single label, attached to one of the drums, identified the materials as having originated from a single location in northwest Florida. Due to the suspected criminal nature of the incident ADEM contacted the City of Mobile’s Hazardous Material Team and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which, in turn, contacted the Mobile Office of the FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance in determining the contents of the drums and to utilize those agencies’ resources to effect a prompt cleanup of the site.

Analysis of the drums’ contents revealed waste oils, solvents, caustic solutions, paints and other chemicals. At ADEM’s request, the EPA has completed an environmental cleanup of the site and all drums and containers have been inspected and secured pending proper disposal at a licensed disposal facility.

As an additional provision of his sentence, no later than two weeks after sentencing, Mr. White will be required to place and pay for a quarter-page advertisement in the Sunday editions of the Mobile Register and the Pensacola News Journal admitting his guilt in this case, and urging the safe and legal disposal of all wastes.

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