Syracuse, N.Y. – Two Finger Lakes recycling companies and their top officials were convicted this week of illegally dumping 800 tons of television sets, computer monitors and other electronic waste in 2016.
The two companies worked together to dump the waste rather than disposing of it properly, the state attorney general’s office said. The owner of one of the companies was fined $225,000. The other company and a top official paid a combined $10,000 in fines.
The attorney general said that Finger Lakes Cleanup and Recycling Consultants, and ALPCO Recycling, knew they were disposing of the waste illegally.
The case unfolded like this, according to an attorney general’s news release and a syracuse.com interview with the state Department of Environmental Conservation:
In 2015, a third recycling company, not named in the release, went out of business and left behind 800 tons of waste in the warehouse it had rented at the Geneva Enterprise Development Center business park. Inside the televisions and monitors left behind were cathode ray tubes, which contain lead, a chemical hazardous to humans.
In 2016, the owners of the development center, in Geneva, hired Finger Lakes Cleanup to get rid of the abandoned waste. Finger Lakes Cleanup’s project manager, Craig Foster, turned to ALPCO, in Wayne County, to take the pile of electronics.
Foster knew that ALPCO and its owner, Alton Plumb, Jr., were not legally authorized to handled electronic waste, but agreed to send it ALPCO anyway.
DEC discovered the waste at ALPCO in the summer of 2016. By then, an unknown amount of it had been processed and was gone. DEC forced ALPCO to clean up the rest of the waste and dispose of it at a certified landfill.
This week, Foster pleaded guilty in Wayne County Court to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized dealing of hazardous wastes. Finger Lakes Cleanup pleaded guilty to a felony on the same charge. Foster and the company were each fined $5,000.
ALPCO and its owner, Plumb, had previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and paid a $1,500 fine. Under an earlier DEC cleanup order, Plumb had also been required to pay $225,000.