Hazardous Waste Transporter Sentenced
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Robert Lewis, aged 42, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced on Thursday, March 20, 2014, to serve 10 months in federal prison for unlawful storage of hazardous waste. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, United States District Court Judge, in Macon, Georgia.
Mr. Lewis entered a guilty plea to the charges on September 26, 2013. In his plea agreement, Mr. Lewis admitted that he owned and operated a waste hauling business under the name of Simple Solutions, Inc. From about May 2007 until April 2008, Mr. Lewis transported hazardous waste, generated by a local manufacturing plant, to a licensed disposal facility.
On February 26, 2009, forty 55-gallon drums and sixteen 275-gallon totes of this hazardous waste material were found to be improperly stored at a self-storage facility in Macon, Georgia. The units had been rented by Mr. Lewis in July 2007. Mr. Lewis rented four additional units in August 2007. It was also determined that Mr. Lewis had improperly stored hazardous waste ,.including highly flammable solvents and highly toxic cyanide wastes, in Rex, Georgia
and at his home in Albany, Georgia.
U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said, "The improper and illegal storage of these extremely dangerous materials in areas where members of the public could unsuspectingly be placed in great danger is a matter of particular concern in this case."
"The defendant knowingly stored highly flammable hazardous waste without regard to the dangers it posed," said Maureen O'Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's criminal program in Georgia. "Handling and storing hazardous waste illegally can put public health at serious risk, threaten groundwater supplies, and run the destructive risk of fire. Today's sentencing demonstrates that violators who disregard our nation's environmental laws will be prosecuted."
The case was investigated by agents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Assistant United States Attorney Paul C. McCommon III prosecuted the case for the government.
Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, United States Attorney's Office at (478) 621-2603.