Jeff Davis

Jun 26, 2014 1:22 PM by KATC

Two arrested for illegal disposal of hazardous waste in Roanoke

The state Department of Environmental Quality has arrested two men for felony illegal disposal of harmful substances at a warehouse in Roanoke.

George L. Ryals III, 62, of Newton, N.J., president of Stillwater Consultants LLC,is alleged to have abandoned a large number of compressed gas cylinders containing poisonous gases and other wastes at a warehouse leased by Stillwater Consultants in Roanoke in Jefferson Davis Parish.

A second suspect in the case, Michael Anaker, 55, of Sulphur, was arrested for identical charges on June 17.

The owner of the leased warehouse, Crop Production Services, evicted Stillwater Consultants, Ryals and Anaker in June 2009 for failure to pay rent.

In July 2009, representatives of Crop Production Services visited the property and found that more than 500 compressed gas cylinders and several drums of waste oil had been abandoned inside the warehouse. Under DEQ regulations, abandonment of wastes is considered disposal.

In August 2009, State Police entered the warehouse and found cylinders containing chlorine, cyanogen chloride, cyanogen, phosgene, arsenic pentafluoride, sodium cyanide and hydrogen cyanide. Many of the cylinders were in poor, deteriorating condition and in danger of leaking.

Phosgene, chlorine and hydrogen cyanide are extremely hazardous chemicals that were used as chemical warfare agents, especially during World War I.

DEQ required Crop Production Services to mitigate and remove the dangerous substances. The company cooperated fully with the subsequent cleanup and investigation.

Crop Production Services spent more than $1 million to remediate the warehouse in 2009, according to DEQ.

If convicted, Ryals and Anaker face a maximum 10 years in prison with or without hard labor, or a fine of not more than $100,000, or both.

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