Question: Douglas Hoflin was the director of the Public Works Department

Douglas Hoflin was the director of the Public Works Department for Ocean Shores, Washington. During a period of seven years, the department purchased 3,500 gallons of paint for road maintenance. As painting jobs were finished, the 55 gallon drums that had contained the paint were returned to the department’s yard. Paint contains hazardous substances such as lead. When 14 of the drums were discovered to still contain unused paint, Hoflin instructed employees to haul the paint drums to the city’s sewage treatment plant and bury them. The employees dug a hole on the grounds of the treatment plant and dumped in the drums. Some of the drums were rusted and leaking. The hole was not deep enough, so the employees crushed the drums with a front end loader to make them fit. The refuse was then covered with sand. Almost two years later, one of the city’s employees reported the incident to state authorities, who referred the matter to the EPA. Investigation showed that the paint had contaminated the soil. The United States brought criminal charges against Hoflin for aiding and abetting the illegal dumping of hazardous waste. Who wins? United States v. Hoflin, 880 F. 2d 1033, 1989 U. S. App. Lexis 10169 (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)

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  • CreatedAugust 12, 2015
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