Mahoney’s Auto Mall in Potsdam, New York, has been accused of burying hazardous substances on the property of the business. The accusations, which first surfaced in June of 2014, include allegations that Mahoney’s buried drums of used oil and containers of used oil filters.
The state executed a search warrant on July 21, 2014, that allowed excavation of Mahoney’s property to see what was underground. The excavation uncovered four 55-gallon drums with about 142 gallons of liquid, piles of used oil filters, and about 20 tires. Lab tests confirmed that the liquid in the 55-gallon drums contained benzene as well as other hazardous substances.
“Failing to properly dispose of hazardous material jeopardizes the health of New Yorkers and the surrounding environment,” the state attorney general said. “We will continue to hold polluters responsible for their actions and will not hesitate to vigorously enforce our state’s environmental laws.”
The indictment charges the auto mall as well as Andrew Fuller, 33, with 12 counts of violations against the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
State investigators found a concrete channel in the floor inside the auto shop, which was used to dispose of auto fluids into a pit. Using a pump attached to a garden hose, the fluids were washed directly into the ground outside the shop. The soil samples around the discharge area tested positive for petroleum contamination.
Exposure to benzene has been linked to life-threatening diseases such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), lymphomas and Aplastic Anemia. The American Cancer Society has confirmed that benzene is a direct cause of AML, and can be absorbed through the skin as well as inhaled.