Sham Mississippi Hazwaste Operator Jailed

NATCHEZ, Mississippi, February 7, 2008 (ENS) – Dennie Eugene Pridemore had been paid to take millions of pounds of hazardous waste containing the toxic heavy metals cadmium, chromium and lead and recycle it into marketable products at his facility in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

But instead he buried the wastes in trenches and produced products that leached heavy metals into the surrounding soil and groundwater, Pridemore admitted in court.

Today, he was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Natchez to 41 months in prison and three years probation for illegally storing and disposing hazardous waste.

Pridemore pleaded guilty on November 15, 2007 to a six-count federal indictment charging him with operating a sham hazardous waste recycling facility under the name Hydromex, Inc., in Yazoo City.

He admitted illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste at the Yazoo City site, and making false statements to state and federal regulatory officials and investigators in an effort to conceal his illegal disposal of the waste.

Federal prosecutors alleged that the products produced at the Hydromex plant were useless and made only to create the illusion that the company was legitimately recycling hazardous waste in accordance with federal and state environmental laws.

In a further effort to conceal his failure to properly recycle hazardous waste, Pridemore created false documents making it appear to regulators that he had customers for the products he claimed to be making and selling, they alleged.

“The defendant attempted to deceive regulators into believing that he was legitimately and safely recycling hazardous waste into useful products when, in fact, he was illegally disposing of the waste and contaminating the environment,” said Ronald Tenpas, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“The defendant’s conviction illustrates how deceit and concealment often accompany environmental violations,” Tenpas observed.

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