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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / CAMARILLO

Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Waste Disposal

September 18, 1998|TINA DIRMANN

A Camarillo man pleaded guilty Thursday to violating health and safety codes when he left hazardous chemicals, including three 55-gallon drums of antifreeze and waste oil, at his abandoned auto repair shop in November.

Brian Lee Nelsen, 40, was fined $6,332 and sentenced to 36 months of probation and 40 hours of community service in exchange for his guilty plea to one misdemeanor count of unlawful disposal of hazardous wastes.

Nelsen vacated his All Tune and Lube auto repair shop in the 6600 block of Crescent Street in Ventura in October, authorities said.

Inspectors from the Ventura County Environmental Health Department's Hazardous Waste Division discovered the material during a routine inspection the next month. In addition to the antifreeze and waste oil, inspectors found a 30-gallon drum of solvent and several lead-acid car batteries.

Nelsen told authorities he had an arrangement with a neighbor to dispose of the chemicals. But Deputy Dist. Atty. Mitch Disney said responsibility is nontransferable and that an owner can only turn over hazardous items to a hauler certified to handle them.

It was the second time in a month the county prosecuted someone for improperly disposing of hazardous wastes. In August, Oxnard auto-racing enthusiast Brad Rod was fined nearly $10,000 and put on three years' probation after a 55-gallon drum of motor oil was found in an abandoned Ventura garage.

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