environmentallawsThe owner of a Tacoma, Washington car wash company pleaded not guilty to charges Wednesday of reckless endangerment after prosecutors say he dumped acidic wastewater into the city’s sewer system. Ryan James Lewis, the owner of Cleaner Pressure Washing in Tacoma Tideflats, has received four warnings, two violations and three cease-and-desist orders since he opened the business in 2011. Prosecutors say he continued to release acidic wastewater, violating the state’s water pollution control act. He’s also accused of using city water from a fire hydrant system and charged with defrauding a public utility.

The News Tribune reports that the city first began having problems with Lewis about a year after he opened Cleaner Pressure. City officials tried to get Lewis to comply with water quality requirements. Then in 2014, Lewis obtained a permit to discharge waste water into the city sewer system. But a year later, in January of 2015, an investigator found puddles of acidic water at the car wash. In May of the same year, the investigator had to help an employee wash his eyes out after falling into a basin of hydrofluoric acid.

Lewis was fined $7,000 by the state for the incident but never paid. The city finally shut the business down in the summer of 2015 after learning that Lewis was not properly treating his wastewater before disposing of it into the city sewer system. An employee told investigators that Lewis was aware he was violating water pollution laws but continued to dump acidic water. At some points, Lewis even had his employees release water onto the ground instead of removing it from the site for disposal.

Read more on The New Tribune’s website. http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article104787721.html#storylink=cpy