OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JOHN F. WOOD
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
JANUARY 27, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ST. JOSEPH PESTICIDE COMPANY, OWNER PLEAD GUILTY
TO ILLEGALLY STORING, DISCHARGING POLLUTANT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a St. Joseph, Mo., company that produces pesticides and herbicides, as well as the company’s president, pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally storing and discharging pollutants into the city’s sewer system.
“This company routinely violated environmental safeguards over a period of many years,” Wood said. “Federal environmental regulations are essential to protect the health and safety of the public, and we will hold businesses accountable to follow those standards.”
William Garvey, of St. Joseph, and HPI Products, Inc., with its main plant at 222 Sylvanie St., St. Joseph, and operations at several additional locations, waived their right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs this morning to separate federal informations. Garvey is the president and majority owner of HPI.
Both Garvey and HPI pleaded guilty to discharging a pollutant – pesticide waste water – 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. “Today’s guilty plea is an admission that these serious violations posed a potentially dangerous situation, and I want to acknowledge the coordinated efforts by EPA Region 7, the city of St. Joseph and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to help investigate and support the prosecution of this crime.”
By pleading guilty today, 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 which 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 presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Meiners and Senior Counsel for the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Rocky Piaggione. It was investigated by EPA – Criminal Investigation Division, the city of St. Joseph, Mo., and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at