KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., company pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally transporting hazardous waste.
Z-Group, LLC, is a Kansas company registered to do business in Missouri. Company president Friedrich-Wilhelm Zschietzschmann represented the company in court today to plead guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to illegally transporting hazardous waste.
Zschietzschmann was also the president and CEO of Z-International, Inc., which specialized in the labeling industry. Z-International used large quantities of ink and ink-related products in its business, making labels for numerous companies all over the world. Z-International was located at 110 East 16th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Z-Group was established in 2001 by Zschietzschmann to serve as owner of real estate where Z-International operated its business.
Z-International was closed by Zschietzschmann in July 2010. Any assets or fixtures remaining on the property after the business closed were sold or otherwise disposed of by a Z-International employee.
Between July 2010 and April 2012, the company authorized personnel to hire others to transport hazardous waste to a separate location. Z-International employees authorized the transportation of 23 containers of varying sizes that contained liquid hazardous waste to Studer Container Service, 520 Madison Ave., Kansas City, Mo. Studer did not have a permit to receive hazardous waste.
In April 2012, Environmental Protection Agency officials conducted a compliance inspection at Studer. During the inspection, EPA inspectors found several containers of what appeared to be hazardous materials.
On June 28, 2012, EPA began its sampling and clean-up operation. On Dec. 21, 2012, the EPA National Enforcement Investigations Center provided analytical results for 38 samples collected from the containers dumped at Studer. Five of the samples tested positive for ignitability and two of the samples tested positive for toxicity.
The EPA Superfund Program cleaned up the hazardous waste at Studer to eliminate possible adverse effects on human health and environment. The total EPA Superfund cost was $36,871.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Z-Group must pay a $50,000 fine and $36,871 in restitution, for a total payment of $86,871. The company is also subject to up to five years of probation. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the regulations based upon it (both USEPA and State) mandate “cradle-to-grave” responsibility for all hazardous waste. The RCRA regulations, however, only apply to active hazardous waste sites. The regulations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and its amendments, collectively known as “Superfund”, have the authority to clean up closed or abandoned sites that are contaminated with Hazardous Substances, which is the case here. Either way, it is the generator of the hazardous waste that will be held responsible for the clean-up costs.
Contact me with questions about disposal options for your hazardous waste and to ensure you receive the best training that will help you to avoid situations such as this.