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Three Defendants and Company Sentenced in Lead Paint Waste Case

Release Date: 12/08/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 /

(12/08/04) On Nov. 19, 2004, defendants Nicholas Muskie, Kevin Foster and corporate defendant Kerrville Painting Company Inc., of Kerrville, Texas, were sentenced in Federal District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas for their role in violations of federal hazardous waste disposal and clean water laws. Nicholas Muskie, the owner of Kerrville Painting, was sentenced to three years in prison. Kevin Foster, a former Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Inspector, was sentenced on one year in prison and has paid $5,768.00 in restitution for clean-up costs. The Kerrville Painting company was sentenced to five years probation and to pay $324,613 in clean-up costs resulting from the violations. The criminal violations arose from sandblasting and painting work the company did under highway bridge contracts in northeast Arkansas in 1999 and 2000. A fourth defendant, Cecil Zimmerman, who was a supervisor at Kerrville Painting, was sentenced in October 2004 to serve three years of probation which includes six months of home detention. The defendants were involved in a scheme that caused the illegal discharge of lead-contaminated materials into the Black River from two different bridge locations. Bridge sandblasting and painting typically generates wastes contaminated with lead which must be disposed of properly to avoid exposure of the public, fish and wildlife to lead and lead compounds. Exposure to sufficient quantities of lead can cause neurological disorders, developmental disorders, birth defects, diseases of the blood and kidneys and even death. The case was investigated by the Dallas and Houston Offices of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Office of General Counsel, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office Environmental Protection Unit, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock, Ark.