ALLENTOWN -- Criminal charges have been filed against a Lehigh County transfer facility and its parent firm accused of illegally receiving and handling more than 96,000 tons of sewage sludge from waste generators, mostly from New York, the state attorney general's office said.
Lehigh Valley Recycling Inc. and its Montgomery County parent company, Solid Waste Services Inc., doing business as J.P. Mascaro & Sons, were charged with bringing the equivalent of 2,400 tractor trailer loads of waste into the Lehigh Valley.
Mascaro also operates a sludge composting operation in Wetzel County. (West Virginia note added by BLO)
Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher said the company had to get approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection before accepting sludge from a new waste generator. From May 2, 1997, to Oct. 4, 2001, however, the company accepted sludge without approval or years before applying for approval, he said.
"In other cases, they continued to accept sludge even after those applications were rejected," Fisher said. Five of the 13 waste generators were specifically rejected by the department, Fisher said.
The 13 waste generators included 11 from New York, one from New Jersey and one from Pennsylvania.
The defendants are each charged with 26 counts of unlawful conduct under Pennsylvania's Solid Waste Management Act and two counts each of unlawful conduct for failing to timely submit monthly tracking reports, false reporting and failing to report acceptance of waste from certain generators.
Fisher said the charges carry a penalty of up to $26,000 per violation per day.
Attorney Bill Fox, general counsel J.P. Mascaro & Sons, said the company was surprised by the filing and hoped to sit down with personnel from the attorney general's office to resolve the matter.