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Company admits waste was transported illegally

A Port Richey company pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a single count of illegally transporting public waste.

On behalf of Bay Plating and Painting Inc., the company's treasurer, Michael Radics Jr., admitted to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary S. Scriven that the company had violated the law.

The company entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in May that calls for Radics and his two partners to pay a $25,000 fine and $75,000 in penalties to the state. Scriven said she would recommended the agreement to U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich, who will make the final sentencing decision.

In such cases, district judges usually accept the recommendations of magistrate judges. The maximum penalty for the charge is five years' probation and a $500,000 fine.

"The problems have been cleared up and certainly won't happen again," said the company's attorney, William B. Taylor.

Bay Plating and Painting paints crossbows and anodizes arrow shafts and tips at its facility at 7916 Evies Way. The company works with Barnett International, an Odessa business that assembles premanufactured archery equipment.

Radics admitted Tuesday that he and other employees knew that Bay Plating didn't have the required permits to transport hazardous waste or store it on company property. In November 1996, the company transported 21 55-gallon drums to the Barnett facility at 1347 Byrd Drive.

The hazardous waste was generated by the use of solvents in painting operations and sulfuric acid used as a metal etching solution. The waste included lead and chromium and spent non-halogenated solvents such as acetone, butanone and toluene.

The drums remained at Barnett until agents with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection discovered them during an inspection. Moving the drums violated a federal law that requires a special permit to transport hazardous waste.

No environmental contamination occurred as a result of the storage or transporting of the drums, said federal prosecutor Eduardo Toro-Font.

_ Graham Brink can be reached in Tampa at (813) 226-3365.