Wis. AG has issue with handling of refrigerators

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 26, 2012

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced an order on Wednesday against a nationwide used appliance collection corporation for allegedly handling salvaged refrigerants improperly at its former Waukesha plant.

APS Express Inc. collects used appliances from appliance stores, including some that contain regulated refrigerants. The company's Waukesha plant processed appliances from Milwaukee, Appleton and Janesville stores between March 2008 and September 2009. APS has since sold its facility in Waukesha and no longer operates in Wisconsin.

APS re-sold the appliances that were usable on the resale market and sold waste appliances to scrap yards after removing the refrigerants.

Van Hollen's office alleges that APS failed to prevent the release of refrigerants while dismantling refrigeration equipment, dismantled refrigeration equipment without an approved registration from the Department of Natural Resources, failed to provide appropriate documentation to scrap metal dealers purchasing the appliances, dismantled refrigeration equipment without the supervision of a DNR-certified individual and failed to certify the safe transportation of the refrigerant with the DNR between May 2008 and April 2010.

The Waukesha County Circuit Court ordered APS to pay a total of $50,000 in forfeitures, costs and statutory surcharges.

"Since 1990, Wisconsin law has regulated the salvaging and dismantling of any type of refrigeration or air-conditioning equipment that contains refrigerants," Van Hollen said.

"Wisconsin law is very clear that refrigerants must be properly recovered using safe techniques and with proper documentation filed with the DNR. Improperly released refrigerants can impact the earth's ozone layer and workers exposed to refrigerants from improper recovery may experience severe health problems."

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