Mahoney’s Auto Mall & Employee Convicted For Burying Hazardous MaterialsPosted: Updated:
A Potsdam auto dealer and an employee have been convicted in connection with burying hazardous substances on the business's property.
Mahoney's Auto Mall and 33 year old Andrew Fuller of Madrid pleaded guilty in St. Lawrence County Court to violations of state Environmental Conservation Law.
New York's Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Environmental Conservation made the announcement Wednesday.
Mahoney's pleaded guilty to one felony count of third-degree endangering public health, safety or the environment.
Fuller pleaded guilty fourth-degree endangering public health, safety or the environment, a misdemeanor.
The DEC’s investigation revealed that in June 2014, Fuller buried drums of used oil, containers of used oil filters, and tires on Mahoney’s property.
On July 21, 2014, DEC police and regulators executed a search warrant which authorized them to excavate the buried waste at Mahoney’s.
During the excavation, DEC investigators discovered four 55-gallon drums containing approximately 142 gallons of liquid, several containers of used oil filters, and approximately 20 tires.
Laboratory analysis showed that liquid samples from each of the four drums contained the hazardous substances benzene.
In addition to the benzene, the analysis detected the presence of the hazardous substances toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylene. Releases of hazardous substances that may enter the environment are illegal.
Adjacent to the excavated waste area, DEC investigators found an open, unprotected pile of solid waste which measured 33 feet in width by 25 feet in length.
The pile of solid waste contained construction and demolition debris, roofing material, household trash, clothing, furniture and bedding.
The disposal of solid waste at the site constitutes the operation of a solid waste management facility.
According to state records, Mahoney’s neither applied for nor received the necessary permit.
Inside the auto shop, DEC investigators also discovered a concrete channel dug into the floor which transported spilled automotive fluids into a pit.
Once in the pit, the spilled fluids were discharged onto the ground outside the auto shop through a pump attached to a garden hose.
DEC investigators collected a soil sample from the area onto which the garden hose discharged the automotive fluids.
Laboratory testing revealed that this soil was contaminated with petroleum.
DEC officials also discovered petroleum-contaminated Speedy Dry which had been disposed of outside on the ground adjacent to the auto shop.
Mahoney’s paid $150,000 in fines and $7,449.49 in restitution to the DEC for reimbursement of costs for excavation and laboratory testing, and was sentenced to an unconditional discharge.
Emil Rossi, attorney for Mahoney's Auto Mall, said his client "did everything to set things right with the government."
Fuller paid a $37,500 fine and is scheduled to be sentenced to three years’ probation on April 10, 2017.