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Dry Cleaning Supply Business Owner Faces Charges of Illegal Hazardous Waste Transport and Disposal

Release Date: 03/06/2003
Contact Information:

Teresa Libera 202-564-7873/

(03/06/03) Gary Wasserson was indicted on Feb. 13 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for allegedly violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Wasserson was owner of the now closed Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Supply Co. in Philadelphia, Pa., which provided dry cleaning supplies to Philadelphia-area dry cleaning stores. While in operation Sterling Supply accumulated hundreds of drums and containers of chemicals such as acetone, sodium perborate tetrahydrate, sodium hydrosulfite, isopropanol, tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene or perc), methylene chloride, xylene, and naphalene. These chemicals are toxic and/or flammable and present hazards to those who unknowingly came into contact with them. The government charges Wasserson illegally transported and disposed of the chemicals stored at the Sterling Supply facility in 1999, by sending them to the Girard Point Transfer Station in Philadelphia from where they were taken to the Modern Landfill in York, Pa. Improperly landfilling of toxic chemicals can contaminate ground water and make it unfit for human consumption. If convicted, Wasserson could receive a maximum sentence of up to 12 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $150,000. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Area Office of the EPA Criminal Investigation Division and by the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia. An indictment is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.