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Feds: Former Johnstown tannery owner abandoned chemicals

Feds: Former Johnstown tannery owner abandoned chemicals

Court document: Some of the chemicals were extremely flammable
Feds: Former Johnstown tannery owner abandoned chemicals
Photographer: Shutterstock

JOHNSTOWN -- The former owner of a closed Johnstown tannery is facing charges that accuse him of abandoning hazardous waste there, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Robert James Carville, 56, of West Palm Beach, Florida, was arrested in Florida on a new indictment charging him with illegal storage of hazardous waste and failing to report the release of hazardous substances.

Carville is accused of knowingly storing hundreds of gallons of hazardous waste at the former Carville National Leather facility, at 10 Knox Ave., without a permit from April 2014 to July 13, 2016. The waste included chromium, lead and both ignitable and corrosive chemicals. The flammable waste had a flash point of less than 140 degrees, according to the indictment.

Authorities discovered the chemicals after a city check of the property in July 2016, City Engineer Christopher Vose recalled Tuesday. 

The facility had an on-sight sewer treatment facility that the city still monitored. Once on site, the workers discovered what turned out to be dye leaking from an overhead door as a result of overturned barrels inside the structure.

The Environmental Protection Agency was notified and the chemicals were cleaned up, Vose said. The chemicals didn't make it off the property, he said.

Carville is to be transported to Albany, where he faces arraignment on the indictment Monday, officials said.

If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

The case is being investigated by the EPA and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry.

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