Septic firm fined for dumping waste

WARM BEACH — Ronald Stansberry’s septic business took illegal dumping to a new low.

Stansberry, 62, last month admitted in court to unloading more than 6,000 gallons of human waste surreptitiously on a stranger’s property south of Stanwood.

Now the owner of Camano Septic is on the hook to pay restitution, pony up another $643 in legal penalties, and obtain proper permits before returning to any sewage-pumping work. If he doesn’t comply, he could face nearly a year in jail.

The state Attorney General’s Office said the Snohomish County District Court case was the first environmental crime it’s prosecuted in a decade. More such cases could be on the way.

“Polluters need to know they can be held criminally liable for breaking laws,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a press release.

Stansberry’s crimes occurred between October and November of last year, court documents state. He pleaded guilty on June 5 to three counts of unlawful dumping of solid waste and one count of second-degree criminal trespassing. Unlawful dumping of solid waste is a gross misdemeanor carrying a maximum 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Stansberry told the court he previously dumped sewage at a facility in La Conner, until falling behind on payments. He thought he could get away with unloading it for free along rural Frank Waters Road.

The property owner later paid to remove sludge from his land. Restitution will be based on clean-up costs.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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