NY: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 20

Southern District Highlights

Basement spill leads to panic

(Orange County)

On June 22, ECO Michael Bello received an after-hours call from
dispatch requesting he respond to assist the Town of Deer Park
police with a mess of a spill into neighboring yards and the
Neversink River. Earlier in the day, a Port Jervis resident noticed
a failure of his home heating system, resulting into a spill of
home heating fuel onto his basement floor. He attempted to shop vac
the fuel into five-gallon buckets, while also knowingly running his
sump pump, which empties into a tributary to the Neversink River.
Due to the ongoing rainfall, the tributary was flooding onto
neighboring lawns. At approximately 10:30 p.m., the Town of Deer
Park police investigated multiple reports of fuel on the lawns of
surrounding neighbors before tracing it back to the defendant’s
home. The defendant refused to stop the pump, claiming that he had
to get the oil out of his basement. The police pulled the plug on
the pump. Bello and Dave Weitz of DEC’s spills unit responded. The
homeowner was unable to hire a contractor for cleanup and does not
have homeowner’s insurance. He arranged for New York state to hire
Conklin for the environmental cleanup. He was issued summonses for
the violations of Endangering Public Health Safety and the
Environment (4th degree misdemeanor), causing a contravention of
New York State water standards and operating a point source
discharge without a permit. All matters were pending Town of Deer
Park Court.

Selling non-deposit

(Bronx County)

On July 13, ECO Matthew Clemens was investigating multiple
complaints of establishments offering non-deposit beverage
containers for sale in the South Bronx, near Yankee Stadium. Upon
entering each of the locations, Clemens observed several
non-deposit beverage containers and issued citations. A short while
later, ECO Eric Dowling met up with Clemens to assist with
investigating additional locations. By the end of the day, the
officers issued tickets to six different locations throughout the
Bronx. The defendants are facing charges in Bronx Court.

Emerald Ash Borer

enforcement detail

(Sullivan County)

On July 14, Lts. Martin Townley and Dave Clayton, along with ECOs
Mike Buckley, Jeff Conway, Nick Desotelle, Dawn Galvin, Bev Whalen,
Bob Hodor and Ricky Wood, as well as Regional Forester Jeff
Wiegert, conducted a compliance enforcement detail for the laws
governing invasive species affecting firewood. Vehicles were
stopped on State Route 209 in the Sullivan County Town of
Mamakating, as well as wood transporters on State Route 17. In
addition to giving warnings to operators of vehicles carrying
firewood in violation of the laws, informational fliers were handed
out to over 100 motorists as a public education effort. The
enforcement detail was part of a statewide effort to stop the
transportation of wood carrying invasive insects such as the
emerald ash borer and Asian long-horned beetle. Also assisting with
the detail was Frank Curtin, assistant plant inspector from New
York State Department Agriculture and Markets.

Northern District Highlights

Steamship compact fined

for several violations

(Erie County)

In June, Region 9 ECO Chuck Lohr received a complaint of paint
chips going into the Buffalo River from work being done on the deck
of a lake freighter off loading grain at General Mills in Buffalo.
He responded and access was given to an area along the dock by
General Mills staff. Moored along the dock was the American
Mariner, a 728-foot vessel. The ECO and General Mills staff checked
the dock area near the bow of the ship and paint chips of varying
sizes were visible on the dock. Paint chips were also observed
floating in the Buffalo River between the ship and the dock.
Interviews were conducted with workers on the dock and they advised
the ECO that they saw the paint chips. One of the witnesses stated
that it was falling “like snow” when they were eating lunch. The
officer checked the port side bow area where the work was being
done and observed an area of the deck that had been stripped that
was approximately 24 feet long by 10 feet wide.

ECO Lohr contacted the fleet engineer for the steamship company,
who was advised that the company would be charged with three
Environmental Conservation Law violations, which included a
contravention of water quality standards, unlawful disposal of
solid waste and allowing an air contaminant to enter the
atmosphere. In July, the company paid a total of $2,500 to settle
the matter administratively.

Well drilling violations

lead to penalties

(Chemung/Albany Counties)

ECO Toni Dragotta has been conducting an investigation of local
well drilling companies and their failure to comply with
registration and reporting requirements specified in Environmental
Conservation Law Article 15. The most recent of several of these
investigations showed results consistent with the prior cases. One
company had filed preliminary notice to drill 11 water wells;
however, no completion reports were submitted to the DEC for these
wells. Dragotta also found they had not renewed their water well
certification or completed pump exam certification. The company
rectified their certification issues and paid a penalty by
stipulation for a violation of ECL 15-1525(3).

Father/son-in-law fishing trip

ends poorly for one angler

(Oneida County)

On June 23, ECO Vernon Fonda was patrolling the Erie Canal and its
tributaries and checked one vessel with two men who were fishing on
Wood Creek. Neither of them had fishing licenses. One of the men
was able to produce valid identification and was issued a summons.
The second of the two was not so fortunate. After repeatedly trying
to ascertain the person’s identification and informing him the
information he was providing was not true, Fonda took the subject
into custody on his vessel. The subject, a Utica man, was placed in
the patrol vehicle and was about to be transported to the state
police barracks. He then stated that he did not want to explain in
front of his father-in-law that there is a warrant for his arrest
for trying to bring drugs into a prison. He also went on to explain
that he was in state prison for 13 years for burglary and
involuntary manslaughter. He was then turned over to the Oneida
County sheriff’s office, with a fishing without a license ticket
answerable to the Town of Verona.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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