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Legal Implications of Hazardous Waste Disposal

During its summer maintenance shutdown, Damien Universal Metal Products cleaned the sludge from its chrome plating tanks. (Cyanide is a by-product of the chrome plating process.) Lucy Furr, Damien's operations manager, contacts Sierra Waste Management to pick up the sludge but is shocked at their price quote. "Proper disposal of plating sludge isn't cheap," Sierra's representative tells her. Then Lucy is approached by a stranger who offers to dispose of the sludge for half Sierra's price. "You'll get a manifest up front, no questions asked," he assures her. Six months later, the EPA discovers Damien's sludge in a vacant lot on the outskirts of the city. What legal problems do Damien and Lucy face?

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Lucy and Damien are in a significant amount of trouble. They will likely be fined for the illegal disposal of hazardous waste, a serious offense. The company will be responsible for the costs of the cleanup effort as well, and will have to pay fines. If the sludge was still in containers, the cleanup costs will be relatively inexpensive, but if the sludge was dumped into the soil, ...

Solution Summary

The problem concerns one company's attempt to cut corners when disposing of hazardous waste by hiring a relatively cheaper disposal firm.