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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that Daniel D. Marini of La Crosse County has been found guilty of a series of environmental violations he committed in La Crosse County and Jackson County and was ordered to pay a penalty of $132,343 to the State.
In a civil complaint filed in Dane County, the Wisconsin Department of Justice charged Marini for unlawful activities at salvage operations in two different Wisconsin counties. At his salvage operation in La Crosse County, Marini performed open burning of five mobile homes, buried the resultant ash on site, illegally transported and stored approximately 90 total non-labeled drums of hazardous waste and hazardous substances such as oil, antifreeze, gasoline mixes and performed automotive crushing activities with no required containment to collect liquids that are generated from crushing. These liquids ran to the ground.
When the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and La Crosse County staff took enforcement steps to require Marini to properly remove the waste materials and close the unlicensed salvage operation, Marini purchased another salvage yard in Jackson County and relocated much of the materials that he was required to properly manage.
Marini was found guilty of burning the mobile homes without a permit and without inspecting the homes for asbestos before their demolition and notifying the DNR. Marini was also found guilty of transporting and storing hazardous and solid waste as part of his business of hauling junked vehicles and mobile homes to his business sites for salvaging.
The DNR's investigation of Marini's activities revealed that there were hazardous substance spills at the La Crosse County and Jackson County sites from Marini's activities. Marini was found guilty of not reporting these spills to the DNR and not taking the necessary steps to stop and clean up the spills. Marini was also found guilty of not preparing a stormwater pollution prevention plan or obtaining a stormwater permit for the Jackson County site.
On December 3, 2009, the Honorable William Foust, Dane County Circuit Court judge, imposed forfeitures and surcharges totaling $100,137 against Marini. The Court also ordered Marini to pay $32,206 in costs to the DNR and the Department of Justice. Judge Foust ordered that Marini not engage in any activity related to scrap recycling or vehicle salvaging for a period of 10 years from the date of judgment.
Van Hollen said that the Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to prosecute environmentally harmful violations. The open burning of trailer homes with their plastic, foam, rubber, metal, and insulation components is a significant source of hazardous air pollutants, dioxins, asbestos, and heavy metal containing waste particulates. The improper transportation, outdoor storage of hazardous materials in containers that can rot with age, and the actual releases of contaminants from crushing operations to the soil and potentially to the groundwater is also an unacceptable environmental and human exposure risk.
The violations were investigated by inspectors at the DNR, who referred the matter to the Department of Justice. Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker is representing the State.