A university of Washington pharmacology professor who dumped a flammable substance down a laboratory sink to avoid the $15,000 disposal...

A University of Washington pharmacology professor who dumped a flammable substance down a laboratory sink to avoid the $15,000 disposal cost was sentenced to probation today in federal court.

Daniel Storm, 62, pleaded guilty in March in U.S. District Court to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by flushing about four liters of the solvent ethyl ether, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Storm was sentenced to three years of probation, 80 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine.

Storm, who has been with the university nearly 30 years and continues to work there, has called what he did “a stupid mistake.”

On June 25, 2006, Storm used an axe to break open metal containers to dump the ethyl ether down a sink in his laboratory, plea paperwork said. Using an axe to break open the containers was dangerous, because of the possibility of a spark which could have ignited the fumes. He kept one container intact.

According to the plea agreement, Storm didn’t want to pay the estimated $15,000 disposal cost, which would have come out of a lab operations fund.

Half of the $5,000 fine that Storm pays will go to the Puget Sound Marine Conservation Fund, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Information previously reported in The Seattle Times is contained in this report.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com