- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
On Dec. 19, 2005, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan sentenced James A. Vaandering of Muskegon, Mich., to serve 13 months in prison, pay a $1,000 dollar fine, pay restitution of $151,000 for a Superfund cleanup to the EPA, 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 Corp. electroplating facility, located in Muskegon, where Vaandering was a supervisor.
According to the charges filed in the case, the Sealmore facility was condemned in late 2000. The site 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 known to cause serious health problems if individuals are improperly exposed to them.
The case was investigated jointly by the Detroit Office of the 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.