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Minnesota Electroplater Charged With Illegal Storage of Hazardous Waste, Owner Charged With False Certification

Release Date: 01/13/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 /

(01/13/05) Hard Chrome Inc., which operated an electroplating facility in Minneapolis, Minn., was charged on Dec. 22 in a document filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis with illegally storing hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The charges also alleged that Hard Chrome’s owner and operator Richard Walters knowingly made and delivered a false writing with respect to Hard Chrome’s alleged misconduct. The Hard Chrome plating facility had a plank flooring which had gaps of several inches between the boards. Between July and October 1999, Hard Chrome allegedly operated its facility in a manner that allowed hazardous industrial wastes including liquids from plating tanks; tank bottom sludges; and wastewater treatment sludges containing caustics, acids, zinc, nickel, chromium, cyanide and other heavy metals, to fall through the floor and pool in open lagoons in the facility’s basement. Hard Chrome at no time had a RCRA permit to store these hazardous wastes. In addition, on or about Oct. 16, 2000, Richard Walters allegedly made and delivered a false writing related to the facility’s operations. Open pools of hazardous waste create a serious potential for injury if humans are exposed to them. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the City of Minneapolis Regulatory Services, Hennepin County Environmental Services, and the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. Support was provided by EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center and EPA Region 5. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis.