HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty announced a lawsuit on Wednesday against a car wash and its owner for allegedly illegally discharging wastewater.

The Old Saybrook-based Carisma Car Wash LLC and Steve Tsialas, its owner and operator, allegedly illegally have been discharging wastewater containing cleaning solvents, soaps and water into a wooded area behind the location since at least October. The lawsuit aims to block the car wash from the alleged action, which would constitute a violation of its permit and state environmental laws.

The court agreed to the request and issued a temporary injunction on Wednesday to stop unauthorized discharges right away. The state is also seeking an order to stop the practice permanently, civil penalties and other costs connected to detecting, controlling, looking into and abating the violations, and remediation of the site as required. The first hearing on the matter will be held on July 23.

"State environmental laws exist to help protect our critical public resources, such as groundwater and aquifers," Jepsen said. "Individuals or businesses who bypass those laws to gain an unfair competitive advantage may jeopardize public health and safety, and must be stopped."

The DEEP said that there are no drinking water wells in the nearby area of the business, which is served by a supply of public water.

The lawsuit alleges that an October inspection revealed that Carisma was pumping wastewater out of a holding tank at least three times a week to an area of ground surface behind the car wash. DEEP issued a violation notice to the company at the time.

An inspection on Jan. 24 revealed that Carisma was discharging water from the holding tank to the sub-surface. A June 26 inspection found that one of the holding tanks was attached to a pipe that let untreated wastewater flow into the ground over 30 feet away, in violation of the company's permit.

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