PolRICHLAND, Wash. – State regulators have fined a port-o-john operator in southeast Washington for illegally dumping raw sewage down a manhole at least five times. Some of the $50,000 in fines will go to the city of Kennewick, which had to clean up waste that backed up into streets.
Early in the morning, a truck would drive out to a not-yet-built cul-de-sac and empty its waste. Waste water managers could tell from the chemicals it wasn’t theirs, but from a portable toilet company. So a team from the City of Kennewick and the federal Environmental Protection Agency laid a trap with motion-activated cameras.
Pat Everham is Kennewick’s water manager. He says that led to a sting operation.
“And they were actually hiding out in the sagebrush and everything," he says. "And so they waited, and sure enough he came in there one morning and parked and they waited until he started dumping. And then they jumped out of the sage brush and got him.”
Everham says other cities have been dumped on too, but usually the offenders move from place to place which makes them more difficult to apprehend.
I called John Liniger who’s the owner of Sunshine Portable Toilets, the company that’s been fined. He said he didn’t “… know what they were talking about.”
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio