Ten criminal charges for violations of environmental regulations were filed yesterday against the owner of two wrecking yards in Kent. King County prosecutors say in charging papers...
Ten criminal charges for violations of environmental regulations were filed yesterday against the owner of two wrecking yards in Kent.
King County prosecutors say in charging papers that on at least three occasions, former employees saw Wei Guo “Larry” Huang, 34, dump more than 500 gallons of old gasoline into a hole he’d dug near the Green River.
Huang also is accused of leaving crushed and broken, acid-leaking batteries on the ground, storing oil and other hazardous fluids in unmarked and unsealed containers and intentionally dumping similar fluids on the ground.
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His actions contaminated a nearby aquifer beyond use, court documents say.
“Huang has operated two different wrecking yards and he has done so with complete disregard for human health and safety and for the safety of the State of Washington’s natural resources,” Daniel O’Malley, an investigator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, wrote in charging papers.
Huang was charged with four counts of illegal hazardous-waste disposal; two counts of wrecking motor vehicles without a license; two counts of failure to respond or report spilled oil and other hazardous material; illegal hazardous-waste storage; and improper storage of used oil.
Huang who could not be reached for comment yesterday operates Japanese Auto Sales on Pacific Highway South and previously owned Japanese Auto Wrecking on 262nd Avenue in Kent before it was closed in 2003 by the state Department of Labor and Industries over safety violations.
According to court documents, Huang’s previous auto-wrecking company was inspected almost 24 times between 1999 and 2003 by various agencies, including the EPA, his landlord, an environmental consulting firm, a King County water specialist, the county health department and the State Patrol.
Each inspection, charging papers say, led to a list of violations and specific instructions on how to clean the site and how to legally dispose of hazardous materials.
But, the charging papers say, Huang disregarded the notices and warnings.
When the state closed his former business, Huang moved to a new location but did not change his practices, court papers say.
Soil and groundwater testing by the EPA last year at the now-closed site showed high levels of cancer-causing benzene. An extensive cleanup of the contaminated site will be required, state officials say in charging papers.
Huang, who was arrested yesterday and is being held at the Regional Justice Center in Kent on $500,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org