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Head of Chester County environmental firm caught illegally storing hazardous waste in company basement

The head of a Chester County environmental firm that tests water samples was charged on Monday by the Office of the Attorney General with illegally storing and disposing hazardous waste in his company's basement.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh ShapiroRead moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

The president of a Chester County environmental firm has been charged with illegally storing and disposing hazardous wastes in the basement of his company for decades to avoid paying disposal fees.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges against Thomas J. McCaffrey Jr., 68, of Coatesville, on Monday. McCaffrey is president and laboratory manager of Cedar Grove Environmental, 1401 Gallagherville Rd., Downingtown,  which tests drinking water and waste water samples. McCaffrey is also charged with unlawful conduct related to the illegal storage of hazardous waste.

"This defendant illegally stored and disposed of hazardous wastes for many years," Shapiro said. "Wastes were illegally poured down the drain on the company's property. I won't allow anyone to deliberately harm Pennsylvanians' rights to clean air and pure water."

The Office of Attorney General investigators discovered 250 brown and clear glass jugs labeled "TKN Waste and "COD Waste" in the company basement  last December. McCaffrey admitted the hazardous wastes – which were later tested and found to exceed the maximum regulated concentration levels for chromium, silver and mercury – had been stored there for decades.

Employees and former employees of the firm said they were instructed by McCaffrey to dispose of wastes by pouring them down the drain on company property, according to investigators

McCaffrey's bail was set at $25,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.