Boise man sentenced for dumping uranium, acid into city sewage system

Idaho

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The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho.

BOISE — James Findlay, 22, of Boise, was sentenced Monday to one year of probation for negligent discharge of waste in violation of the Clean Water Act, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced.

On Aug. 28, Findlay pleaded guilty to unlawfully discharging waste into the Boise sewage system between April 2012 and October 2014. According to Findlay’s plea agreement, he operated an entity called Sawtooth Fusion, LLC, which was based out of his rental apartment.

Findlay obtained and stored quantities of depleted uranium and uranium powder. He had obtained some large chunks of depleted uranium from an aircraft salvage company. In his apartment, Findlay also chemically extracted uranium from various items he had acquired. He did this by soaking the items in muriatic acid.

At the end of the process, he discharged the materials and acid mixture into the sink in his apartment, which was connected to the Boise Public Works sewage system. Due to their low pH and corrosive properties, the discharged materials violated Boise’s sewage system’s EPA-approved requirements and, as a result, the Clean Water Act. Findlay’s actions required a significant governmental response to address any potential public safety concerns. No widespread danger to the community was discovered.

“This case shows that EPA, along with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue criminal behavior in order to protect our communities,” said Jeanne Proctor, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in the Pacific Northwest.

The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Boise Fire Department and Boise Police were the first responders to the apartment complex where Findlay’s activities were discovered.

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