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Company pleads guilty to dumping oil, pumping it into storm drain

An Island Park recycling company pleaded guilty to dumping oil into its back lot, then pumping it into a storm drain after state environmental investigators warned the business to keep the petroleum from spreading into the street, the Nassau district attorney's office said Wednesday.

Liberty Metal Recycling pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of pollution of waters in contravention of standards, prosecutors said. Nassau County District Court Judge Joseph Girardi imposed a $3,000 fine at the recommendation of prosecutors and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, along with a 6 percent surcharge of $180, authorities said.

DEC investigators went to the business in March after getting a complaint and saw "large puddles" of petroleum-water mixtures, which were spilling into the road and storm drain, authorities said.

Employees were instructed to prevent the waste oil from draining off the property, but the next morning, a DEC spill response team saw workers using a sump pump to divert the pollutants onto the streets, where the mixture flowed into a storm drain, prosecutors said.

The workers shut off the pump when they saw the DEC team, which concluded the oil and petroleum did not pose an immediate threat, authorities said.

The property has been cleaned up, prosecutors said, and Liberty Metal Recycling is now defunct.

The business' attorney did not return a call Wednesday night.

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