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Park County Fined Following CBS4 E-Waste Investigation

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An image of the e-waste (credit: CBS)

An image of the e-waste (credit: CBS)

Written by Paul Day

PARK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A mountain county, located 85 miles southwest of Denver, is agreeing to pay a fine and penalties for illegal storage of electronic waste revealed more than a year ago in a CBS4 investigation.

“Park County was found to be in violation of solid waste regulations and statutes,” said Jerry Henderson, an environmental protection Specialist with the Hazardous Waste and Waste Management Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Under the terms of a compliance order, Park County must pay a total of $9,080 in fines and penalties. The cash fine amounts to $1,080 and is payable to the state within 30 days. The penalty calls for the County to pay $8,000 for the purchase of a solar compactor to be used at a recycling drop-off center in Fairplay.

In August 2010, video shot by CBS4 showed piles of junk computers, discarded TVs and other electronic waste at a county storage yard outside Fairplay. The state first inspected the site in mid-September.

In the compliance order signed late last month, Park County admits it never had a necessary certificate of designation for solid waste disposal. The county also stipulates the material sat on bare ground for more than 6 months.

Was this illegal storage done deliberately or out of ignorance?

“I think it was just not knowing what the requirements were,” said Henderson, who investigated the situation for the state.

The county paid to have the discarded and abandoned electronic waste properly disposed of before CBS4 aired its story on Oct. 1, 2010.

The compliance order also requires Park County to do environmental testing at the old storage site. If any contamination is discovered, Park County must pick up the tab for the clean-up.

Under the law, fines of up to $10,000 per day per violation were possible. But Henderson told CBS4 the state decided more than $9,000 is sufficient in this case especially since Park is a small mountain county coping with hard economic times.

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