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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Imperial Valley RV Storage Company Charged With Illegally Disposing Over A Million Gallons Of Raw Sewage

SAN DIEGO – United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that Glamis Dunes Storage Inc. and its owner, Michael Mamelli, Sr. were arraigned today on charges that they injected and disposed of potentially millions of gallons of sewage underground at the Glamis Dunes Storage site, in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

According to the indictment, 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 sewage and grey water) at the facility. At that time, 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, and estimated that at full occupancy, they would dispose of approximately 1.25 million gallons of RV sewage and grey water at a wastewater treatment plant per year.

The indictment alleges that on December 16, 2009, a Cease and Desist Order was issued to Michael Mamelli of Glamis Dunes Storage by the Imperial County Department of Environmental Health Services, after it was discovered that Glamis Dunes Storage and Mamelli were illegally disposing of sewage from the RV holding tank by pumping out the sewage and discharging it into an underground septic tank on the site. The Cease and Desist Order required them to immediately cease the discharge of sewage to the underground septic tank, remove the underground septic tank and to retain the services of a registered hauler to pump out the RV holding tank and provide evidence of disposal at a wastewater treatment plant.

The indictment further alleges that between February 16, 2010, and March 12, 2010, the defendants had a contractor build a leach field in the rear of the property, place a pump in the RV holding tank, and connect a pipe directly from the RV holding tank out to the leach field, concealing the power connection for the pump under gravel near the RV holding tank. Thereafter, it is alleged that defendant Mamelli and other employees of Glamis Dunes Storage illegally disposed of the sewage in the RV holding tank by activating the pump and discharging the sewage through the underground leach field.

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

The Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 300h-2(b) of Title 42 of the United States Code, prohibits the willful violation of any requirement of an applicable underground injection program. The underground injection program applicable to Class V injection wells in the State of California is the national underground injection control program, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Under the federal regulations, injection wells are regulated according to the classification that the well is given. Class V injection wells include septic system wells used to inject the waste or effluent from a multiple dwelling, business establishment, community or regional business establishment septic tank. The regulations prohibit any underground injection of fluids, except into a well permitted or otherwise authorized under this program. The construction of any well required to have a permit is prohibited until the permit has been issued.

The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of the sum of $125,000, alleged to be the proceeds of the offense.

Michael Mamelli and Glamis Durnes Storage, Inc. are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes on August 8, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. for a hearing on all motions.

DEFENDANT   Case No.: 14-CR-1766-WQH
Glamis Dunes Storgage, Inc.        Incorporated: 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: Three years in custody, the greater of a $10,000 fine or twice the illegal gain or loss and a $100 penalty assessment

 
INVESTIGATING AGENCY

Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division
Bureau of Land Management

*Indictments and complaints are not evidence that the defendant committed the crime charged.  All defendants are presumed innocent until the United States meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.     

Updated July 23, 2015