On December 10, 2018, Bruce Justinen and the Seasoft diving company were issued a “Notice of Penalty” from the State of Washington, Ecology Department for allegedly dumping hazardous waste, which contained lead and arsenic down a toilet, from there this waste travelled to a storm drain and came to rest in the ground. This incident took place in Lacey, Washington USA. The fine is $197,000 US and Seasoft has 30 days to pay the it or appeal it to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.
An investigation in July 2018 by the Ecology Department and the Department of Labor & Industries found lead dust present on many exposed surfaces inside Seasoft Scuba’s warehouse. Shrubs, soil and the surface of a parking lot were contaminated with lead and arsenic. Lead is used in the making of “weights” for divers. Lead does not break down in the home or the environment. Once lead is in the body, it can can also be stored in the bone for years and will damage the brain and other organs for years to come. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems.
Four violations are mentioned in the penalty letter sent to SeaSoft:
1. Failure to send dangerous waste to a permitted treatment, storage or disposal facility.
2. Failure to meet the requirements for transporters of dangerous waste.
3. Failure to take appropriate mitigation and control actions after a spill or discharge.
4. Failure to designate waste according to required procedures.
There is concern for the SeaSoft employees, as to how much lead and arsenic they were allegedly exposed to and the state departments of Health and Labor & Industries are working with these employees to determine this factor as well as what effect these toxic chemicals could have on them and their families.