A 22-year-old Boise man has been sentenced to a year of probation for violating the Clean Water Act by dumping dangerous and corrosive materials leftover from uranium extraction down the sink in his rented West Boise apartment and into the city sewage system. The discharges triggered a “significant government response,” though “no widespread danger to the community was discovered,” according to the Idaho U.S. Attorney’s office.
James Findlay pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge in federal court; the discharges occurred between April of 2012 and October of 2014. According to court records, he was operating a business called Sawtooth Fusion LLC out of his apartment, in which he obtained about 50 pounds of depleted uranium from an aircraft salvage company, along with other items, and chemically extracted the uranium from them by soaking them in muriatic acid. He then poured the wastes down the bathroom sink. His activities resulted in the radioactive contamination of the apartment and a local business where he took some of the materials to be cut without disclosing their nature.
“This case shows that EPA, along with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue criminal behavior in order to protect our communities,” said Jeanne Proctor, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in the Pacific Northwest, in a news release today.
The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Boise Fire Department and Boise Police were the first responders to the apartment complex.