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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Imperial Sand Dunes Storage Firm And Owner Plead Guilty To Illegal Disposal Of Untreated Human Waste And Sewage

SAN DIEGO - Glamis Dunes Storage Inc. and its owner, Michael Mamelli, Sr., pleaded guilty today to the illegal underground disposal of potentially millions of gallons of untreated human waste and sewage at the Glamis Dunes Storage site for more than four years, in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Glamis Dunes site is located off of Highway 78 in Imperial County, and advertises storage services near the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

The defendants admitted at today’s hearing that in August of 2007, Glamis Dunes Storage obtained a conditional use permit from Imperial County to install and operate a 20,000 gallon holding tank for RV waste (including human waste and grey water) at the facility. When acquiring the permit, Glamis Dunes Storage represented that the wastewater would be pumped out by a licensed septage hauler and disposed of at the Holtville wastewater treatment plant. According to Glamis Dunes Storage, the holding tank could be expected to dispose of approximately 1,250,000 gallons of RV sewage and grey water per year. The permit specifically prohibited any underground leach system attached to the holding tank.

As the defendants admitted, however, between February 16, 2010, and March 12, 2010, the defendants arranged for a contractor to build a leach field in the rear of the property, install a pump in the RV holding tank, and connect a pipe directly from the RV holding tank out to the leach field. The defendants also arranged for the power connection for the pump to be concealed under gravel near the RV holding tank. Thereafter, they admitted that they repeatedly disposed of the human waste and sewage from the RV holding tank by activating the pump and discharging the sewage through the underground leach field.

The defendants acknowledged that between August and October of 2012, they had a contractor add a new pump and two 2,500 gallon tanks in series to the pipe connecting the RV holding tank to the leach field. The defendants continued to illegally dispose of the sewage in the RV holding tank by discharging it through the underground tanks and leach field without a permit or other authorization from the EPA.

The defendants agreed to forfeiture of the sum of $50,000, as the proceeds of the offense, and to make restitution to the Bureau of Land Management and the Imperial County Department of Environmental Health and to fund the restoration of the site to the satisfaction of the Imperial County Department of Environmental Health.

Michael Mamelli and Glamis Dunes Storage, Inc. are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes on February 17, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. for sentencing.


DEFENDANTS   Case Number: 14-CR-1766-WQH
Glamis Dunes Storgage, Inc. Inc., 2006 Glamis, California
Michael J. Mamelli, Sr. Age: 63 Newport Beach, California
 
CHARGES

Unlawful Injection of Pollutants, a felony, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 300h-2(b)(2)

Maximum Penalty for Individual: Three years in prison; up to $250,000 fine or twice the illegal gain or loss, whichever is greater.

Maximum Penalty for corporation: Fine of up to $500,000.

 
INVESTIGATING AGENCY

Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division
Bureau of Land Management

Updated July 23, 2015