Alleges defendant’s undocumented landfill put state’s natural resources in “imminent danger of harm”
SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed criminal charges against a Renton man accused of running an illegal dump and wrecking yard on his property for more than a decade.
The Attorney General charged Charles Pillon in King County Superior Court with one felony count of Violation of the Hazardous Waste Management Act, one felony count of Wrecking Vehicles Without a License and one gross misdemeanor count of Unlawful Dumping of Solid Waste.
The charges are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
“Hazardous material disposal is carefully regulated, and for good reason,” Ferguson said. “Improper disposal can endanger the health of humans and the environment, and I won’t tolerate it.”
In a search warrant executed by the Washington State Patrol in February of this year, troopers found more than 50 wrecked vehicles, 400 tires, 20 boats and dozens of other vehicle parts on Pillon’s property. Piles of ordinary household, industrial and construction-site solid waste were found spread and buried over approximately 70 percent of the 10-acre parcel, and in containers ranging from handheld bottles to 55-gallon drums.
Water and soil samples at the site included multiple dangerous and hazardous wastes at levels exceeding ground or surface water quality standards, including strong caustic substances, lead, chromium, cadmium, and semivolatile organic compounds like benzo(a)pyrene, in addition to motor oil, diesel, and lube oil. Surface water on the site runs into drains that lead to May Creek and ultimately Lake Washington.
The felony counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine; the gross misdemeanor charge carries a maximum of 364 days in jail and a fine of $5,000.
The Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case at the request of the King County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutors are Assistant Attorney General Bill Sherman and King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Hinds.
Ferguson has made prosecuting environmental crimes a priority of his administration. Since 2013, he has brought environmental prosecutions leading to 14 criminal convictions, and restitution orders totaling in excess of $700,000.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov