NY: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 13

Western District Highlights

Illegal Wastewater Discharge

(Onondaga County)

As a result of two previous investigations into the illegal
discharge of concrete waste water, Investigator Karen Williams
received a complaint that a third concrete company was also
operating in the same way. Based on information received, Williams
conducted inspections at two concrete plants in Onondaga County.
Both plants were engaging in the same process of rinsing the
concrete trucks and dumping the concrete spoils onto the ground in
an area that had no containment. Subsequent inspections by Williams
at seven other sites in Tompkins, Onondaga, Cortland, Broome,
Chenango and Madison counties documented the same violations,
including the discharges to surface as well as groundwater. At
least one of the facilities the company was using had a proper
system set up to capture the rinse water and settle out the solids
but failed to use it. None of the facilities had a method to treat
the high pH of the wastewater; pH levels ranged between 10 and 13
at all of the sites. As with the two previous investigations, the
company was given the opportunity to cease the illegal discharges
and install controls to prevent future discharges and come into
compliance prior to the next construction season. To insure
compliance a consent order was drafted by the Region 7 legal
division with a schedule of compliance to be completed no later
than May 1. The company also was assessed a penalty of
$50,000.

Earth Day Crackdown

Environmental conservation officers across the state recognized
Earth Day by undertaking a clean air initiative to crack down on
smoke-spewing diesel trucks. ECOs targeted trucks churning out
plumes of visible exhaust in violation of state air regulations.
Continuing DEC’s “Stop Smoking Initiative for Trucks and Buses,”
the enforcement operation was carried out in areas known for heavy
truck traffic.

In Region 5, ECOs, with assistance from the New York State Police,
Akwesasne Tribal Police and the New York State Department of
Transportation, checked 44 vehicles, issuing three tickets for
violations of air emission standards, one ticket for violation of
waste hauling regulation, four tickets for other vehicle and
traffic violations and two warnings regarding waste hauler
regulation.

DWI/drug arrests

(Oswego County)

On Feb. 12, ECO Anthony Panipinto was on patrol, driving along
State Route 49 in the Oswego County Town of West Monroe. He
observed a vehicle driving in front of him in which the male driver
and female passenger were arguing. Panipinto continued to observe
the occupants as they both traveled along the highway. He observed
the driver acting extremely agitated and weaving out of the driving
lane as he drove. Panipinto stopped the vehicle and approached the
driver’s side door. During the approach the driver began screaming
at Panipinto , demanding to know why he was being stopped.
Panipinto requested the man’s driver’s license on two separate
occasions; all the while the driver was yelling obscenities and
punching his steering wheel, refusing to provide his driver’s
license.

Panipinto informed the individual that he was under arrest, further
requesting that he exit the vehicle. The man responded by throwing
a soda can at the officer and began punching at the officer.
Panipinto began to attempt to physically remove the driver from the
vehicle in an attempt to place him in physical custody. While
standing on the edge of the highway attempting to control the
individual, Panipinto was attacked by the female passenger. She had
exited the vehicle and began to push Panipinto from behind while he
was wrestling with the driver at the edge of road. Panipinto was
able to defend himself from the passenger while removing the driver
from the vehicle. The driver continued to physically resist arrest
and even began to push Panipinto into the eastbound lane of the
highway. At this time he was able to direct the man off the road
and to the ground and place him in handcuffs. After a lengthy
investigation Panipinto arrested both individuals for possession of
cocaine and resisting arrest. The driver faced additional charges
for DWI-drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation and driving on the
shoulder of the roadway. He was remanded to jail following his
arrest. The case was set to be handled in Town of West Monroe
Court.

Snowmobiling While Intoxicated

(Onondaga County)

On March 5, ECOs Richard Head and Chrisman Starczek were checking
ice fishermen coming off Oneida Lake. The officers noticed that the
majority of the fishermen had close to their 50-perch limits. The
officers observed a group of three fishermen bring in their lines
and start heading to shore on a snowmobile, towing a sled full of
gear and one of the anglers. None of the riders had helmets on. The
officers located the group as they were exiting the ice and started
checking the anglers’ fishing licenses. As they did this, they
noticed the bottom of the fishing shanty was full of empty beer
cans. As the interview continued, it was determined that all three
men had been drinking, including the driver of the snowmobile.
Starczek performed standardized field sobriety tests on the driver
and he was found to be intoxicated. The operator was tested at the
Cicero Police Department and found to have a blood alcohol contest
of 0.13 percent, above the legal limit. Starczek arrested the
operator and charged him with snowmobiling while intoxicated,
failure to wear a helmet and towing a person on a sled without a
rigid support.

Flood assistance

(Essex County)

On March 6, Essex County Emergency Services requested assistance
from ECOs in evacuating residents out of AuSable Forks. Two days of
rain and heavy snowmelt caused several ice jams in the Ausable
River to break up and reform in the hamlet of AuSable Forks.
Several homes were inundated with water and a low-lying section of
the hamlet was evacuated. ECOs Mike Phelps, Dan Malone and Matt
LaCroix responded to assist. Luckily, the ice jam broke and
flooding subsided within an hour. A spill was reported from a fuel
oil tank and debris was scattered along the river. The ECOs
assisted and stood by until a DEC spills responder arrived.

Southern District Highlights

Environmental Justice Enforcement

(Queens County)

On March 30, Region 2 ECOs set up an “Environmental Justice
Checkpoint” at the intersection of Rockaway Boulevard and Farmers
Boulevard in Rosedale, Queens. The ECOs checked heavy-duty diesel
vehicles for various air quality, environmental quality, vehicle
and traffic and transportation law violations. As a result of the
detail, the ECOs issued over 40 summonses for environmental
conservation law, vehicle and traffic law and transportation law
violations.

Bottle Bill Patrol

(New York County)

Complaints continue to pour in about the illegal sale of
non-deposit water and soda. On April 1, ECOs Dustin Dainack and
Matthew Nichols patrolled Manhattan looking for these non-deposit
beverages being sold from street vendors. The officers were able to
locate several vendors who were illegally selling imported water
and soda from New Jersey. The officers issued multiple tickets for
offenses and educated the vendors that they were not to be buying
soda and water in New Jersey (without the required 5-cent deposit)
and then coming to New York and selling it. This is an ongoing
issue in New York City and all Region 2 officers continue to be
vigilant in enforcing the returnable container law.

Earth Day detail

(Dutchess County)

On April 20, ECOs Lou Bello, John Helmeyer, Bob Hodor, Deo Read,
Myles Schillinger, Claude Stephens and Bev Whalen attended an Earth
Day commercial vehicle detail. The detail was supervised by Lt.
David Clayton and was held at the Newburgh Beacon Bridge. Several
different agencies were in attendance – the New York State Trooper
Commercial Vehicle Unit, New York State Taxation, and a U.S.
Department of Homeland Security “Viper Radiation Team.” Multiple
commercial vehicles were stopped and inspected. Several summonses
were issued.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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