Pesticide Co., Owner Plead Guilty to Illegal Storage, Discharge

A St. Joseph, Mo., company that produces pesticides and herbicides, as well as the company's president, pleaded guilty in federal court on Jan. 27 to illegally storing and discharging pollutants into the city's sewer system, according to John F. Wood, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

This company routinely violated environmental safeguards over a period of many years , Wood said.

William Garvey of St. Joseph and HPI Products, Inc., waived their right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to separate federal informations. Garvey is the president and majority owner of HPI.

Both Garvey and HPI pleaded guilty to discharging a pollutant pesticide wastewater into the city's sewer system without a permit and in violation of federal pretreatment standards from 2003 to 2005. HPI also pleaded guilty to storing hazardous waste without a permit from Oct. 7, 2003, to May 1, 2007.

The defendant's illegal discharges and storage of pesticide wastes posed a risk to the treatment plant and the community, said Michael Burnett, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in Kansas City.

By pleading guilty, Garvey admitted that for nearly 20 years he instructed his employees at various HPI locations to wash wastes, spills, and equipment rinses down floor drains that are connected to the sewer system. Garvey did not authorize sufficient expenditures for the proper disposal of HPI's wastes until 2006, when it removed wastes pursuant to government directions. In addition, HPI's pretreatment discharge permit issued by the city of St. Joseph was limited to sanitary waste and did not authorize the discharge of industrial wastes.

HPI admitted that numerous 55-gallon drums containing hazardous waste, such as chlordane, selenium, and heptachlor, were illegally stored for more than 90 days at warehouses that had no permit. The drums, labeled for disposal or HPI Hazardous Waste, were variously dated from Nov. 14, 1994, to April 11, 2005.

Under federal statutes, Garvey is subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine. HPI is subject to three years of probation and a fine. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of pre-sentence investigations by the U.S. Probation Office.

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