JoCo dumped hazardous materials down the drain: EPA

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The EPA accuses Disposable Instrument Company in Johnson County of allowing the discharge of hazardous materials into the sewer system in violation of federal water quality law. This June 2021 Google Maps view shows the company building.

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The owner of a Johnson County manufacturing company is accused of knowingly allowing the discharge of hazardous materials into the sewer system in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, court records show.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in the U.S. District of Kansas alleges that Lenexa-based Disposable Instrument Company began bypassing a treatment system for wastewater disposal as early as 2016. It further accuses company chairman Brian Chansky , a criminal offense for breaking the law. .

A call made to the company on Friday afternoon seeking comment from Chansky was not immediately returned. An employee said Chansky was out of town and not expected to return until Monday.

According to court documents, Chansky has been the company’s president since about 2015. Disposable Instrument Company has about 15 employees and produces medical and surgical components through a process that uses heavy metals.

Federal prosecutors say the manufacturing process involves parts being washed and then treated with acid and another chemical. Under the approved method, the company was supposed to pass the water used in the manufacturing process through a three-section tank that included filters and other chemicals before going to the sewer.

According to the criminal complaint, a whistleblower alerted Chansky in August 2018 that employees were circumventing the process by dumping in the facility’s back parking lot and letting the chemicals go straight down the drain.

“By bypassing the pre-treatment process and dumping hazardous materials into the (Disposable Instrument Company) dumpster and the Johnson County sewer system, the company saved money and resources that would have been spent to proper disposal practices,” prosecutors said in the complaint.

The Environmental Protection Agency investigated alleged violations that year in part by installing devices in manholes to measure water flowing to and from the facility. An EPA lab in Denver analyzed data that showed the company exceeded its wastewater discharge limit on 10 of the 39 days the devices were there, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors also say the company reduced the amount of hazardous waste that was shipped while doing the same amount of business.

Under federal law, Chansky faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, as well as a fine of $50,000 a day.

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Bill Lukitsch covers breaking news for The Star. Prior to joining The Star, he covered politics and local government for the Quad-City Times.

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