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Electronic Salvage Pres. Gets Community Service for Illegal Dumping

Curtis Weston Hilleren, of St. Louis Park, pleaded guilty to unlawful handling of hazardous waste for illegally disposing of electronics at his Hopkins business.

The president of Electronic Salvage Industries in Hopkins has been sentenced to 160 hours of community service and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution for illegally dumping TVs and cathode ray tubes, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Curtis Weston Hilleren, 68, of St. Louis Park, pleaded guilty on July 23 to unlawful handling of hazardous waste, according to the news release.

Two weeks ago, Hennepin County District Court Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum sentenced Hilleren to community service instead of ordering him to serve 20 days in the Hennepin County Workhouse because of his age and physical condition

Hilleren will pay the restitution to the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services, which investigated the case.

He was also fined $15,000. However, the judge stayed $12,000 of the fine. That portion will not have to be paid if Hilleren meets all of the other requirements of his sentence over the next three years.

Hilleren first came to investigators’ attention in 2009 when Matt Petersen, a staff environmentalist with the Department of Environmental Services, found a cathode ray tube (CRT) in the company’s garbage bin, Petersen wrote in the initial charging documents. Petersen ordered the company to remove it and document how that wouldn’t happen again.

On Aug. 29, 2011, the Department of Environmental Services received a complaint that Hilleren had improperly disposed of hazardous waste. When Petersen went to investigate, he found a roll-off box with the plastic outer cases of CRTs and TVs and what appeared to be broken CRTs in the bottom of a box scheduled to be taken to a local landfill.

Electronic Salvage Industries advertises that it follows a “strict no land fill policy” and offers services “exceeding state and federal regulations to keep our communities protected,” according to the court documents.

Hilleren initially said he didn’t know who the box belonged to but eventually acknowledged it belonged to the company.

Two days later, he called the Department of Environmental Services and admitted that he “screwed up.”

During subsequent questioning Sept. 1, he estimated CRT waste totaled between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds.

Tests found the lead content in the garbage bin was 122 mg/L or 24 times the legal limit of 5 mg/L.

 

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