Illegal waste management company told to ship oil off-island within a month

POSTED: 03/24/11 12:39 PM

Dump atop Cakehouse Road needs to be cleaned

GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance sentenced Bevan Payne to a 1,000 guilders fine and ordered him to clean up a site on Hyssop Road (atop the Cakehouse Road) that he has been using illegally to store used motor oil within a month.

The Today Newspaper reported about the illegal oil storage for the first time on November 26 of last year, but the environmental inspectors of the sector ROB had been warning Payne already since June of last year to clean up the mess. After numerous warnings, the environmental inspection department finally issued a conditional $5,000 fine to Payne and ordered him to clean up the site, or have it done by Oil Mop at a cost of approximately $18,000.

Payne said in court yesterday that he had started a waste management company in December 2009 and that he has plans to build a $350,000 recycling plant for used motor oil. He started collecting oil and made an agreement with an American company to take the product off his hands. He also rented the piece of land on the Hyssop road for temporary storage. The plan was to ship the oil off island in October of last year, but the ship his American counterparts promised to send somehow never arrived.

“Did you ask permission to do this?” Judge Mr. M. Keppels asked the defendant, to which Payne answered, “I did not know I needed that.” Payne said that he had asked cooperation from the government for his plans but that he never heard anything back.

After this newspaper published a story about what looked like an oil dump (a find during a tour of the island with environmentalist Rueben Thompson, the project manager of Epic and the vice president of the Pride Foundation) things took a turn for the worse for Payne, because ROB turned up the heat. “They told me I had to clean it up but I did not have another location.”

But in the end, Payne found a location in Sucker Garden where he has not stored the oil. Next week he will receive some “flexi-tanks” he told the court, and there is an agreement with Tropical Shipping to ship the product off island soon afterwards. According to the defendant, he is currently sitting on approximately 50,000 gallons of used oil.

Payne admitted that his oil was not stored properly on Hyssop road. “I understand why I got the fine,” he said. “During the removal there was also some spillage; that is an environmental hazard.”

Environmental inspector Joseph Olivacce who was at the court hearing with his boss Henry Ellis, said that Payne was telling “a nice story,” but that the reality was a bit different. “We have had a lot of patience. Every time he makes promises but nothing ever happens. Everybody was able to get to that oil; that is not acceptable.”

Ellis said that Payne needs a hindrance permit to store used oil. “Without it, it is not permitted what he does. The situation at the location in Sucker Garden is even worse than on the Hyssop road.”

Ellis said that the government wants Payne to stop doing what he does. “The oil that is there has got to go. He has to do it himself, or he has to let Oil Mop do it, but at his expense. That company has a hindrance permit for it.”

Ellis added that Payne also needs to clean up the terrain on the Hyssop road, and that he has to commit to a firm date. “Now he has yet another date to transport the oil off island.”

Payne said that he would be able to finish the job on Hyssop Road and to transport the oil off-island within two weeks.

Prosecutor Mr. B. den Hartigh confirmed that charges against Payne. “It is odd to start a waste management company without taking any measures for decent storage. You should have asked help from the government, and you should have made sure that everything was in order before you started. You have been warned many times but the situation has not improved. That is worrying.”

Den Hartigh pointed out that according to the waste management ordinance the maximum fine for a violation is 3,000 guilders; Ellis was unable to explain properly how his department had arrived at a conditional $5,000 fine. The prosecutor thought that a fine alone would not make much of an impression since the costs for cleaning up the mess are much higher than that.

He demanded a 1,000 guilders fine and a 2 weeks conditional prison sentence. The condition Payne has to comply with is that he cleans up the terrain and ships the oil off island within a month.  Judge Keppels concurred and sentenced the defendant accordingly. She also gave him a message to think about: the government has the authority in case of non-compliance to have the oil removed at his expense.

 

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