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LA company pleads guilty to dumping hazardous waste in Savannah neighborhood

Company plea follows convictions of employees

POSTED: December 20, 2017 12:57 p.m.

Boasso America Inc., headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, and with a facility in Garden City, was sentenced to five years of organizational probation last week by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. for its actions in the illegal transportation and dumping of hazardous waste in Savannah.

Additionally, Boasso was ordered to pay full restitution, including cleanup costs; to pay the maximum criminal fine penalty of $500,000; and to establish, implement and enforce an effective environmental compliance plan, so that future dumping incidents do not happen.

Boasso pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a law regulating the storage and transportation of hazardous waste.

Boasso’s conviction follows the convictions of two of its former employees, Ray Mitchell, 52, of Pooler and Maurice Miller, 40, of Savannah for their individual roles in the illegal transportation and dumping of hazardous waste. Earlier this year, Miller was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison. Mitchell was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison.

According to evidence presented during multiple guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Boasso provides transportation services for tank containers containing hazardous wastes. Boasso’s Garden City facility stored and transported its customers’ tanks containing hazardous waste.

In 2015, rather than properly transporting and safely disposing of drums and totes that contained the hazardous chemical naphthalene at its Garden City facility, Boasso employees Mitchell and Miller illegally transported and dumped a significant amount of naphthalene into the ground of a nearby Savannah neighborhood.

Exposure to amounts of naphthalene, a main ingredient found in mothballs, can cause serious health issues. Once discovered, law enforcement and environmental officials quickly removed the hazardous waste before it caused any health concerns.

Further investigation by law enforcement officials uncovered that Boasso employees fabricated invoices in an effort to hide their illegal dumping of hazardous waste.

“The Southern District of Georgia is an historic and beautiful land. Companies doing business in our great district will be held accountable for any and all harm they cause and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to enforce our federal laws and keep Savannah beautiful,” U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine said.

“The actions of the defendants in this case resulted in hazardous waste being illegally dumped in Savannah’s Carver Village community,” said Andy Castro, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for Georgia. “This case shows that EPA and its law enforcement partners will prosecute those who put public health at risk by avoiding the cost of handling or disposing of dangerous chemicals properly.”

The investigation of this case was led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with assistance from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, and the Savannah Fire Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Tania D. Groover and Charlie Bourne prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. 

Boasso America Inc., headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, and with a facility in Garden City, was sentenced to five years of organizational probation last week by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. for its actions in the illegal transportation and dumping of hazardous waste in Savannah.

Additionally, Boasso was ordered to pay full restitution, including cleanup costs; to pay the maximum criminal fine penalty of $500,000; and to establish, implement and enforce an effective environmental compliance plan, so that future dumping incidents do not happen.

Boasso pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a law regulating the storage and transportation of hazardous waste.

Boasso’s conviction follows the convictions of two of its former employees, Ray Mitchell, 52, of Pooler and Maurice Miller, 40, of Savannah for their individual roles in the illegal transportation and dumping of hazardous waste. Earlier this year, Miller was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison. Mitchell was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison.

According to evidence presented during multiple guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Boasso provides transportation services for tank containers containing hazardous wastes. Boasso’s Garden City facility stored and transported its customers’ tanks containing hazardous waste.

In 2015, rather than properly transporting and safely disposing of drums and totes that contained the hazardous chemical naphthalene at its Garden City facility, Boasso employees Mitchell and Miller illegally transported and dumped a significant amount of naphthalene into the ground of a nearby Savannah neighborhood.

Exposure to amounts of naphthalene, a main ingredient found in mothballs, can cause serious health issues. Once discovered, law enforcement and environmental officials quickly removed the hazardous waste before it caused any health concerns.

Further investigation by law enforcement officials uncovered that Boasso employees fabricated invoices in an effort to hide their illegal dumping of hazardous waste.

“The Southern District of Georgia is an historic and beautiful land. Companies doing business in our great district will be held accountable for any and all harm they cause and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to enforce our federal laws and keep Savannah beautiful,” U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine said.

“The actions of the defendants in this case resulted in hazardous waste being illegally dumped in Savannah’s Carver Village community,” said Andy Castro, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for Georgia. “This case shows that EPA and its law enforcement partners will prosecute those who put public health at risk by avoiding the cost of handling or disposing of dangerous chemicals properly.”

The investigation of this case was led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with assistance from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, and the Savannah Fire Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Tania D. Groover and Charlie Bourne prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. 

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