Iowa AG sues junkyard

Keith Loria Dec. 28, 2010, 2:51pm


HAMPTON, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced a lawsuit on Monday against the owner of a salvage yard who has allegedly violated environmental laws for the last seven years.

Miller's environmental lawsuit alleges that Jerry Passehl, owner of the Latimer-based The Junkyard, violated a number of solid waste, storm water discharge and hazardous condition laws and refused to comply with orders from state administrators.

The lawsuit alleges that Passehl violated Iowa storm water discharge regulations by not properly draining or removing fluids from vehicles entering his scrap yard prior to crushing, not storing batteries correctly, and not cleaning up spills immediately or informing the Iowa Department of Natural Resources of these spills.

Additionally, Miller alleges that Passehl violated Iowa solid waste regulations by failing to maintain separate tire piles for waste tires and used tires, and not providing receipts revealing proper disposal of discarded appliances at an approved recycling center or landfill.

During separate inspections in 2007 and 2009, the DNR said several appliances on the property had not been de-manufactured as required by state law.

"These are serious infractions we have alleged," Miller said. "My office will pursue cases where someone is accused of putting the environment at risk, especially our groundwater."

Passehl also allegedly failed to remove and dispose of contaminated soil properly, which is a violation of the state's hazardous condition laws.

Furthermore, Passehl allegedly failed to notify the DNR shortly after the onset or discovery of the hazardous condition, and failed to apply for proper environmental permits, failed to satisfy a $3,000 state penalty and failed to satisfy numerous permit fees.

Miller is seeking permanent injunctions to keep Passehl from any further violations of state environmental laws and regulations. He also seeks a court order to have Passehl adhere to all administrative orders, and to satisfy all penalties and permit fees. Miller is also asking for additional civil penalties.

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