(HAMPTON, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller today filed an environmental lawsuit against the owner of a Franklin County salvage yard with a history of environmental violations dating back to 2003. The lawsuit alleges numerous solid waste, storm water discharge and hazardous condition violations, and the failure to comply with state administrative orders.
The lawsuit against Jerry Passehl, owner of “The Junkyard,” a salvage yard in Latimer, alleges that Passehl violated Iowa storm water discharge regulations and previous administrative orders. The alleged violations include failing to properly drain or remove fluids from vehicles entering the scrap yard prior to crushing, failing to properly store batteries, and failing to immediately clean up spills and notify the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of the spills.
The suit also alleges that Passehl violated Iowa solid waste regulations and previous administrative orders. The alleged violations include failing to maintain separate tire piles for “waste tires” and “used tires,” and that Passehl failed to provide receipts showing proper disposal of discarded appliances on his property at an approved landfill or recycling center. During repeated inspections in 2007 and 2009, the DNR observed several appliances on the property that had not been demanufactured, as required by state law.
Passehl, according to the lawsuit, failed to properly remove and dispose of contaminated soil, which is an alleged violation of Iowa’s hazardous condition laws. During repeated inspections in 2007 and 2009, the DNR observed numerous oil spills and fluids on Passehl’s property, and confirmed through test results soil samples with a significant concentration of motor oil. Passehl is also accused of failing to notify the DNR shortly after the onset or discovery of the hazardous condition.
The lawsuit also alleges that Passehl failed to apply for proper environmental permits, failed to satisfy a $3,000 state penalty, and failed to satisfy numerous permit fees. The suit seeks permanent injunctions, enjoining Passehl from violating state environmental laws and regulations, and standing administrative orders, and to satisfy all penalties and permit fees. Miller is also requesting additional civil penalties.
“These are serious infractions we have alleged. My office will pursue cases where someone is accused of putting the environment at risk, especially our groundwater,” Miller said.
# # #