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Michigan Plating Shop Supervisor Sent to Prison For Abandoning Chemicals

Release Date: 01/12/2006
Contact Information: Dave Ryan, (202) 564-4355 /

(1/12/06) James A. Vaandering of Muskegon, Mich., was sentenced on Dec. 19 by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to serve13 months in prison, pay a $1,000 dollar fines, pay EPA restitution of $151,000 for a Superfund cleanup, perform 300 hours of community service and serve three years of supervised release once he completes his prison term. The defendant had previously pleaded guilty to abandoning hazardous chemicals at the site of the former Sealmore Corporation electroplating facility which is located in Muskegon, Mich. Vaandering was a supervisor at the facility. According to the charges filed in the case, the Sealmore Corporation facility was condemned in late 2000. The facility contained a number of chemicals and liquids in vats used in electroplating, including acid solutions containing hexavalent chromium and hydrofluoric acid. Hexavalent chromium and hydrofluoric acid are chemicals that can cause serious health problems if individuals are improperly exposed to them. The case was investigated jointly by the Detroit Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Criminal Investigations. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the Western District of Michigan.