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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Delaware

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sussex County Man Sentenced In Illegal Storage And Clean Water Act Violations

WILMINGTON, Del. – Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Patrick Henry Procino, age 66, of Laurel, Delaware, was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews to one year probation, a $50,000 fine and a $100 special assessment for one count of illegal storage of hazardous waste without a permit. 

On October 15, 2013, as the owner/operator of Procino Plating, Inc. (Procino Plating), Procino entered a guilty plea on behalf of that corporation to one count of violating the Clean Water Act.  Procino was also sentenced today on the Clean Water Act violation to five years’ probation, a $400 special assessment.

According to statements made at the plea hearing and documents filed in court, Procino owned and operated Procino Plating, Inc. ("the facility"), at 901 South Market Street in Blades, Delaware. Until the fall of 2007, the facility was utilized for plating and electroplating-related operations.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) defines hazardous waste to include chemical waste which due to its chemical characteristics presents a hazard to human health or the environment.  RCRA mandates that producers of hazardous wastes may not store such wastes without first obtaining a storage permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  From December 2007 through May 2010, Patrick Procino stored a tank containing approximately 450 gallons of liquid hazardous waste which originally had been used at the facility on its decorative chrome plating line.  This chemical waste had a ph. of 0.8 and, therefore, was a corrosive waste under RCRA.

As to Procino Plating, in the course of its operations it produced wastewater, and pursuant to a pretreatment industrial wastewater permit issued by Sussex County, Procino Plating was permitted to discharge its industrial wastewater to the Seaford, Delaware treatment plant which, in turn, discharges into the Nanticoke River.  Pursuant to the Clean Water Act, the permit set limits on the amount of various pollutants that Procino Plating could discharge in its industrial waste water to the Seaford treatment plant, including limits on various metals.

On or about June 1, 2009, Sussex County modified Procino Plating’s industrial user permit to specifically prohibit the discharge of waste water generated as a result of electroplating operations, and any waste or bi-products of the electroplating processes then in storage at the facility.  This modification was made based upon statements and representations by Procino Plating to Sussex County officials, indicating that the business has ceased electroplating-related operations at the facility.  However, from June 2009 through March 2010, Procino Plating processed, through its wastewater treatment plant, stored drums of chemicals which were leftover from its former electroplating operations and, in violation of its Clean Water Act mandated permit, discharged resulting wastewater to the Seaford treatment plant.

Following the sentencing, Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, stated, “Environmental crimes endanger the welfare of our citizens and natural resources, and where appropriate will be prosecuted to ensure the safety of our citizens.”

“For years the defendant knowingly disregarded federal and state environmental laws,” said David G. McLeod, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program for the Middle Atlantic States. "Improperly handling hazardous wastes and industrial pollutants can threaten the environment and put the public at serious risk.  Today's sentencing demonstrates our resolve to collaborate with our state and federal counterparts to vigorously investigate and prosecute any credible allegation that a company and its leaders treat our nation's environmental laws with contempt.”

“Sentencing for Mr. Procino culminates another environmental protection partnership effort between Delaware, EPA and the U.S. Attorney's Office,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Delaware companies demonstrate every day that they can be successful while complying with environmental standards to protect public health, and DNREC works hard to assist the state's businesses in achieving these goals. Mr. Procino continually demonstrated a blatant disregard for the state’s hazardous waste regulations, and we appreciate the great efforts of the EPA and U.S. Attorney’s Office in bringing this case to a close.”

This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control-Criminal Investigations.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edmond Falgowski and Special Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Lisa.
Updated July 14, 2015