Lacey scuba gear business fined $197,000 for dumping hazardous waste in toilet, storm drain

Hazardous waste was found in the soil and on shrubs outside the Lacey scuba gear business.
Hazardous waste was found in the soil and on shrubs outside the Lacey scuba gear business. Courtesy

Seasoft Scuba Gear of Lacey has been fined $197,000 for dumping hazardous waste down a toilet, into a storm drain and on to the ground, the state Department of Ecology announced Tuesday.

The waste, which contained lead and arsenic, was created by removing corrosion from lead shot reclaimed from shooting ranges. The clean lead was used to manufacture diving weights, according to a news release.

Property leased by the business at 8294 28th Court NE is now listed as a toxic cleanup site.

“We know this is a serious matter and have sought the guidance of both Labor & Industries and Ecology to ensure that we operate in a safe and lawful manner,” said Bruce Justinen, president of Seasoft Scuba, in a statement.

The company has 30 days to pay the fine or appeal it to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board, according to the news release.

Following an anonymous tip, Ecology and L&I launched an investigation in July that found lead dust inside and outside Seasoft’s Lacey warehouse, including on unsold merchandise, table tops, walls and employee eating areas. Lead and arsenic also were found in the soil.

The Department of Health and L&I are working with Seasoft employees to determine how much lead and arsenic they were exposed to. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause kidney and brain damage. Arsenic, which is also toxic, can cause skin problems and cancer.

“It’s common knowledge today just how dangerous exposure to lead is,” said Darin Rice, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program manager for Ecology, in a statement. “Seasoft’s actions were intentional and resulted in egregious violations with serious impacts to human health and the environment.”