Attorney General Cuomo Secures Guilty Plea From North Collins Company For Negligently Allowing 250 Gallons Of Dangerous Muriatic Acid To Be Leaked

BUFFALO, N.Y. (July 28, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the guilty plea of a North Collins manufacturing company that neglectfully released nearly 250 gallons of a dangerous, corrosive material into the local environment.

As part of the plea, Attorney General Cuomo’s Office has required Crescent Manufacturing, located at 10285 Eagle Dr. in North Collins, to fund equipment and training for the Town of North Collins Volunteer Fire Department’s use in addressing releases of hazardous materials. The company pleaded guilty to endangering public health, safety or the environment in the fourth degree before Town of North Collins Judge John M. Stevens.

“Companies that handle hazardous chemicals have an obligation to be vigilant and responsive to any potential threat to the public’s health and our environment,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “We will not tolerate the negligent release of these dangerous substances, nor will we tolerate situations where employees or the public are exposed to possible injury. The company must now pay for the local fire department to obtain hazmat cleanup equipment and training.”

Crescent Manufacturing produces various household cleaners, automobile waxes, gas additives and similar products that require the blending of potentially dangerous chemicals. In September 2006, according to the complaint, employees were working with a leaking 250 gallon tote of a dangerous, highly corrosive chemical. Although the leak had been discovered the previous evening, the company negligently allowed its employees access to the tote, which released almost the entire 250 gallons of a 35 percent concentration of hydrochloric acid (also known as Muriatic acid).

The Crescent employees were evacuated and the Town of North Collins Fire Department and a private remediation company contained and cleaned up the spill.

“The improper management of hazardous materials can damage New York’s neighborhoods and the health of surrounding natural resources,” said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “In this incident, Crescent Manufacturing displayed a disregard for environmental regulations and the well-being of the community. DEC will continue to work with the Attorney General’s office to ensure that businesses that violate the state’s environmental laws and regulations and are held accountable.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Paul McCarthy of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Richard Ernst. The investigation was conducted by Investigator Walter C. Cain of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Environmental Criminal Investigations, under the supervision of Lt. Jeffrey Jondel. The Attorney General thanked the DEC for its assistance.