LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Texas man was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for improperly disposing of hazardous electronic waste at a Central Kentucky recycling business.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports 63-year-old Kenneth Gravitt, of Austin, Texas, formerly operated Global Environmental Services, with facilities in Georgetown, Winchester and Cynthiana.
The business was supposed to recycle cathode ray tubes, but it took in more waste than it could handle and began dumping it at a landfill and in a hole behind the Georgetown facility, according to the lawsuit.
Disposal of the tubes is regulated by the federal government because they contain lead, which is toxic. The business was supposed to remove the lead and take it to a smelter or approved recycler.
Gravitt's attorneys blamed employees and said he was unaware of the problem.
"He would have never sanctioned illegal disposal," the attorneys said in one motion.
But prosecutors rejected that theory and argued that Gravitt was simply greedy.
"The money was too good to turn down," prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum.
It will likely cost taxpayers several million dollars to clean up the contamination, U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan Jr. said in a news release.
"We have these prohibitions for a reason: they protect the environment, public health, public funds, and the safety of people in our community," Duncan said.
In addition, two warehouse owners who provided space to Gravitt face bankruptcy if the government doesn't provide a bailout for cleanup.
Gravitt was sentenced Friday in federal court in Lexington.