Olympia - November 8, 2000 - A Pierce County clean-up contractor and junk hauler was sentenced in Pierce County Superior Court Wednesday for dumping dangerous waste onto the property of a 66-year-old Lakewood woman.
Dell L. Merritt, Jr. pleaded guilty July 20 after being charged by the Attorney General and the Pierce County Prosecutor with second-degree malicious mischief and with criminally violating the Washington Hazardous Waste Management Act.
According to documents filed in Pierce County Superior Court, the victim hired Merritt to remove and properly dispose of various scrap materials, automobile parts and waste products from her residence. The woman’s property is adjacent to Clover Creek and near two drinking water wells.
Prosecutors alleged that instead of completing the job as agreed, Merritt collected $767 from the woman, and then he and an employee dumped three 55-gallon drums of mixed petroleum wastes onto her property. The state Department of Ecology ultimately incurred over $8,000 in clean-up and waste removal costs, and the victim sustained several thousand dollars in additional damages.
At the sentencing by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Brian Tollefson, Merritt was ordered to serve two months in custody on work release status, to pay $6,000 in restitution to the
victim, and to repay $8,146 in clean-up costs to the Department of Ecology. In addition, Merritt will be placed on probation after his release from custody and will be required to pay an additional $860 in court costs and crime-victim assessments.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Washington Department of Ecology.
For an electronic version of this release, visit the Attorney General’s webpage at https://www.atg.wa.gov