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Ex-DNREC Manager Sentenced for Wetlands Violation at Dredging Facility in Lewes, Del. - William Daisey Sentenced for Illegally Discharging Pollutants to Wetlands

Release Date: 4/28/2005
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113 & AUSA Edmond Falgowski, 302-573-6277 ext. 122

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113 & AUSA Edmond Falgowski, 302-573-6277 ext. 122

PHILADELPHIA – William Daisey, a former manager of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), was sentenced today in federal court in Wilmington for illegally discharging contaminated wastewater into wetlands near DNREC=s dredging facility in Lewes, Del., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson sentenced Mr. Daisey to six months home confinement and two years probation.

Today=s sentencing followed Mr. Daisey=s January 24, 2005 guilty plea to a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act. At the time of this violation, Mr. Daisey was the chief of operations of DNREC=s Division of Soil and Water Conservation facility in Lewes, located next to the Broadkill River (also known as the Lewes/Rehobeth Canal). The Lewes facility, the site of the former Doxsee clam processing factory, is used for docking and maintaining dredge boats operated by the State of Delaware. The site also contains numerous warehouses, which contain supplies, chemicals and equipment used by beach replenishment crews.

The U.S. Attorney=s Office in Wilmington charged Mr. Daisey with unlawfully discharging pollutants, which contained chemical waste into wetlands on the Lewes facility from January 2000 to April 2001. This contaminated wastewater was drained from used waste oil and used anti-freeze that was generated on-site, on DNREC dredge vessels and gathered from nearby businesses. At Mr. Daisey=s direction, this water B which was contaminated with hydrocarbons and other chemicals associated with used oil and anti-freeze -- was discharged into a sump pit, and then pumped through an underground PVC pipe into nearby wetlands. Mr. Daisey was charged with knowingly discharging pollutants into U.S. waters without a required Clean Water Act permit.

The case was investigated by EPA=s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney=s Offices in Wilmington, Del., with assistance from EPA and the Justice Department=s Environmental Crimes Section.

Hazardous Waste Investigation and Cleanup Activities

In addition to criminal prosecution of Mr. Daisey, EPA has been involved in the investigation and cleanup of hazardous waste stored or disposed at the Lewes facility. In July 2003, EPA CID conducted a consent search of the Lewes facility in response to information about potential environmental violations. During this consent search, EPA CID excavated an area in the facility=s back lot, unearthing 18 five-gallon containers, two of which were later found to contain hazardous waste. Seepage and soils from the excavation area also tested positive for ignitability, lead and barium. Testing of the sump pit and PVC pipe discharge area revealed petroleum hydrocarbons associated with used oil.

Markings on some of the containers found at the site indicated that the materials may have originated from military bases and installations. Subsequent investigation by EPA CID revealed that DNREC had obtained surplus military materials, including chemicals, solvents, paints, cleaning fluids and equipment. Some of the excess or unwanted materials, including hazardous substances, were stored on-site. Additionally, EPA CID uncovered a previous incident in which the Lewes facility attempted to send hazardous wastes to a non-hazardous waste disposal facility. The disposal facility discovered the hazardous waste and rejected the load.

DNREC subsequently completed an EPA-supervised cleanup of the Lewes facility, at an estimated cost of $325,000. The cleanup included the removal of hazardous waste from the excavation pit, a full survey of chemicals and hazardous wastes stored on-site, and the removal of more than 3,600 pounds of paint waste and more than 1,500 pounds of other hazardous waste. The state also removed more than 5,000 pounds of non-hazardous solid and liquid waste.