News and Press Releases

Prattville Man is Sentenced for Improperly Storing and Disposing of Hazardous Waste

August 27, 2012

Montgomery, Alabama - Arville “Buddy” Thomas, 71, formally of Prattville, Alabama was sentenced to three years’ probation for storing and disposing of hazardous waste at his former company in Prattville, Alabama, without a permit, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. Thomas previously owned Deep South Plating, Inc. in Prattville. Deep South Plating was a metal plating company that used heavy metals in liquid form. These liquid metals created hazardous byproducts, including copper cyanide, nickel cyanide and sulfuric acid. These and other hazardous byproducts were improperly stored in open vats and unsecured metal drums on the property. Thomas abandoned the company in 2008 and moved to Tennessee. When federal agents located Thomas in Tennessee, he admitted that the hazardous materials at Deep South Plating were improperly handled and stored before he abandoned his company.

Earlier this summer, Thomas pleaded guilty to a one-count felony information charging him with storing and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 6928(d)(2)(A). On Friday, August 24, 2012, Judge Thomas A. Varlan sentenced Thomas to the three year probationary sentence.

“Hazardous waste must be handled, stored and disposed of properly to ensure that workers, the community and the environment are protected," said Maureen O'Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Atlanta. “In this case, the defendant's illegal actions required the federal government to clean up the site. If you break the law and leave it to the public to 'pick up the tab,' you will be prosecuted."

“It is important that we protect our land and environment for future generations,” stated U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. “When you poison the land, you either leave the poison for our children or force the federal government to clean up the hazardous waste. We will continue to prosecute those that violate the law by poisoning our land, water and/or environment.”

This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathan D. Stump and Melissa Kirby.


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