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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 25, 2017

Louisiana Company Pleads Guilty To Transporting and Dumping Hazardous Waste in Savannah Neighborhood

SAVANNAH, GA – Boasso America, Inc. (Boasso), headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, and with a facility in Garden City, Georgia, entered a guilty plea yesterday before Senior U. S. District Court Judge William T. Moore, Jr. for the illegal transportation and dumping of hazardous waste. Boasso pled guilty to a felony violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a law regulating the storage and transportation of hazardous waste. Boasso’s guilty plea follows the convictions of two of its former employees, Ray Mitchell, 52, of Pooler, Georgia, and Maurice Miller, 40, of Savannah, for their individual roles in the illegal transportation and dumping of hazardous waste. Earlier this year, Miller was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison. Mitchell was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison.

According to evidence presented during multiple guilty plea hearings, Boasso provides transportation services for tank containers containing hazardous wastes. Boasso’s Garden City facility stored and transported its customers’ tanks containing hazardous waste. In 2015, rather than properly transporting and safely disposing of drums and totes at its Garden City facility that contained the hazardous chemical naphthalene, Boasso employees Mitchell and Miller illegally transported and dumped a significant amount of naphthalene into the ground of a nearby Savannah neighborhood. Exposure to amounts of naphthalene, a main ingredient found in mothballs, can cause serious health issues. Once discovered, law enforcement and environmental officials quickly removed the hazardous waste before it caused any health concerns. Further investigation by law enforcement officials uncovered that Boasso employees fabricated invoices in an effort to hide their illegal dumping of hazardous waste.

The investigation of this case was led by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with assistance from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD), and Savannah Fire Department’s Haz-Mat team.

 

As part of its plea agreement, Boasso has agreed to pay full restitution, including cleanup costs; has agreed to pay the maximum criminal fine penalty of $500,000; and has agreed to establish, implement, and enforce an effective environmental compliance plan, so that future dumping incidents do not happen.

 

Acting United States Attorney James Durham said, “This company and some of its employees callously dumped hazardous waste into a local community, all to save a little time and money. Because of their dangerous decisions, the company will be paying a significant amount of money and their employees are spending a lot of time in a federal prison. I want to thank the EPA, Georgia’s DNR, SCMPD and the Savannah Fire Department for quickly investigating this case, and for ensuring Boasso’s hazardous waste was properly removed before anyone was injured.”

“This corporate defendant and some of its employees knowingly allowed hazardous waste to be illegally dumped without regard for the potential dangers that its release could pose to public health,” said Andy Castro, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for Georgia. “These corporate and individual convictions show that those who put public health and the environment at risk by violating the law will be held to account.”

Assistant United States Attorneys Tania D. Groover and Carlton R. Bourne prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact the U. S. Attorney’s Office at (912) 201-2522.

Topic(s): 
Environment
Updated August 25, 2017