AG Shapiro Charges Former Pike County Sanitation Company Owner For Repeated Violations Of Solid Waste Management Act

March 22, 2022 | Topic: Criminal

Investigation Found At Least 60 Tons of Solid Waste was Improperly Disposed Of At Company’s Treatment Facility

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the Office of Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Section has charged James Muir, the former owner of M&S Sanitation Sewage Disposal and Pike County Environmental, for unlawful conduct that repeatedly violated the Solid Waste Management Act.

“The defendant’s choice to cut corners in the treatment process to save money not only endangered a clean and safe environment in Pike County – it was against the law,” said AG Shapiro. “Let this send a clear message to others about how seriously we take protecting our environment and public health. If you violate our environmental laws, my office will hold you accountable.”

This Office of Attorney General assumed jurisdiction over this case following a referral from the Pike County District Attorney’s Office. The investigation involved Pike County Environmental and M&S Sanitation Sewage Disposal owned by Muir and various violations of the Solid Waste Management Act. Muir’s business model was to collect sewage from various operators under M&S Sanitation Sewage Disposal and transport it to his treatment facility, Pike County Environmental, located in Matamoras, Pa.

The treatment process for the sewage results in sludge and debris at the end of the process that must be properly disposed of. When Muir started experiencing financial difficulties in 2013, he began to direct that the treated sludge and debris be stored on-site and also buried on the property instead of being hauled off-site for proper disposal.

Investigators discovered that this debris and sludge was placed in and around every building on the property, which had been sold to a new owner in 2017. The new owner told investigators that he excavated nearly 50 sacks of debris that had been buried on the property and removed an additional 50-75 sacks of debris from the buildings. The new owner produced records that documented four truckloads of grit weighing 60.35 tons, and an additional 61 truckloads of sludge had been improperly disposed of on-site by Muir.

Muir has been charged with four counts of Unlawful Conduct under the Solid Waste Management Act. This case is being prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Franz. All charges are accusations and the defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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