Franklin Foundry And Company President Plead Guilty To Illegally Storing Hazardous Waste
CONCORD, N.H. – John R. Wiehl, the president of Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry, Inc., (the Company) pled guilty today in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to unlawfully storing hazardous waste, announced United States Attorney John P. Kacavas. Weihl
pled guilty in both his individual capacity and on behalf of the Company.
The Company manufactures a variety of metal parts for various industrial applications. A byproduct of the foundry’s operation is the production of waste containing hazardous or toxic concentrations of lead and cadmium. Under both the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and New Hampshire environmental laws, a generator of hazardous waste, like Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry, Inc., may not store hazardous waste at its facility for more than 90 days without a permit unless it is authorized to do so. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was enacted by Congress to address the nation’s growing hazardous waste disposal problem caused primarily by industrial operations. The intent of the law is to protect human health and the environment by requiring the proper safe management of hazardous waste from the time it is created until the time it is disposed.
The illegal storage of hazardous waste at the foundry was discovered in April and August of 2009, during two workplace inspections conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). OSHA inspectors reported their observations to the EPA. In December 2009, the Criminal Investigative Division of the EPA executed a search warrant at the foundry and discovered lead and cadmium hazardous waste stored in several 55-gallon drums on the premises.
A federal grand jury indicted both Wiehl and the Company in August of 2010 for unlawfully accumulating and storing lead and cadmium hazardous waste at the foundry site since July 2005. Neither Wiehl nor the Company had been issued a permit to store hazardous waste for more than 90 days. The Company had previously been cited by the EPA for similar violations in 2002 and 2005, but neither the Company nor Wiehl had faced criminal charges until now.
United States Attorney John P. Kacavas responded to these guilty pleas, saying, “Environmental crimes pose a serious threat to the health and safety of New Hampshire citizens. Those who violate environmental regulations for convenience sake or for profit will pay a much heavier price in the form of justice. I want to thank and commend OSHA and the EPA CID for their outstanding partnership in bringing this environmental scofflaw to justice.”
Mike Hubbard, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in New England, said, “The Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry has a long history of violations of federal environmental and worker safety laws. I want to applaud the professionals at OSHA for partnering with the EPA in bringing this case to justice.”
Sentencing hearings for Wiehl and the Company have been scheduled for April 25th, 2012. Wiehl faces a possible maximum sentence of two years in prison and possible maximum fine of $250,000, but under the terms of a plea agreement filed with the court, the United States Attorney’s Office has agreed to recommend that he serve two years of probation, six months of house arrest, and that he publish a public apology. The Company is facing a possible maximum fine of $500,000.This case was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigative Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark S. Zuckerman.