At the center of the investigation was Bruno Suraci, Jr., owner of three metal-finishing businesses near the Quinnipiac River in New Haven. The court ruling, totaling nearly $750,000 in civil penalties, comes for hazardous waste and air pollution violations.
Attorney General George Jepsen said Suraci's companies failed to properly store and label hazardous chemicals and chemical waste, train employees, and maintain a safe working environment. "My attorneys, who have years and years of experience in this kind of enforcement, have trouble recalling such egregious behavior," Jepsen said. "It was a deliberate, intentional effort to cut costs by putting his employees and the general public at risk."
Metal finishing businesses use a lot of chemicals, which are tightly regulated to prevent things like soil and groundwater leeching and atmospheric contamination. Jepsen said additional fines will be assessed for air-quality violations tied to spray booths, which a 2010 investigation by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) determined contributed to an odor in the ambient air.
In an emailed statement, Suraci said he was unfairly targeted by inspectors from DEEP and called the fines "an egregious attack of a small business here in Connecticut." He said he plans to relocate his business outside of Connecticut and said the charges left him "with no liquid assets both personally or in business."