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PA FLORIDA AUTO SALVAGE COMPANY CHARGED IN WASTE CASE
Release Date: 01/16/98
FOR RELEASE: JANUARY 16, 1998
FLORIDA AUTO SALVAGE COMPANY CHARGED IN WASTE CASE
On Jan. 6, Kempton Brothers Inc., an auto salvage firm operating in the Tampa area and Robert B. Kempton, co-owner and manager of the company, were charged by a grand jury in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa with multiple counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The indictment alleges that under the direction of Robert Kempton, employees of Kempton Brothers recovered and cleaned automobile parts with gasoline and solvents and dumped the spent cleaning materials along with waste automobile fluids such as antifreeze, oil, gasoline, transmission fluid and brake fluid into a gravel-lined pit. The alleged crimes occurred from about September 1992 to May 1994. The indictment also alleges that the defendants excavated sludge containing hazardous waste and lacquer thinner waste from the pit and placed it into automobiles destined for the scrap yard. Finally, the indictment charges Robert Kempton with three counts of making false statements. Groundwater studies conducted by the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation indicate contamination of wells in the area of the facility operated by Kempton Brothers. Ingestion of water contaminated with gasoline, anti-freeze and solvents can cause damage to the kidneys and other internal organs, and benzene from gasoline contamination is a cause of cancer in humans. If convicted on all charges, Kempton Brothers Inc., faces a maximum of $1.5 million in fines, up to 15 years probation or both. Conviction on all charges could lead to a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment for Robert Kempton, fines of up to $1.5 million or both. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Law Enforcement.