McDowell & Sons admits to burning waste
DES MOINES – An Iowa Falls company has agreed to pay $43,000 in civil penalties and avoid future violations after admitting to violating state solid waste and air quality laws, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced Monday.
McDowell & Sons Contractors admitted that from October 2016 to May 2017, it improperly disposed of solid waste from a large construction project by illegally burning the waste, according to a consent order signed Monday by District Court Judge Kurt J. Stoebe.
According to a petition filed by the state, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources received an anonymous complaint in May 2017 that McDowell & Sons was burning railroad ties in a pit on the company’s property near 160th Street and OO Avenue in rural Hardin County. A DNR investigator found a smoldering burn pile containing timber mats and other wood; a power pole; plastic field tile; vinyl floor tile and a hydraulic cylinder. DNR staff also observed a McDowell bulldozer pushing timber mats into the burn pile. Co-owner Rick McDowell admitted to the DNR that the company hauled material from a power-line construction project to the pit for burning. DNR’s investigation revealed that the company improperly disposed of approximately 1,350 tons of solid waste.
Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission referred the case to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.
Improper disposal of solid waste can contaminate soil and groundwater, and open burning releases large amounts of particulates, carbon monoxide, toxins and other pollutants that can harm human health.