ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG, NAUGATUCK MAYOR ANNOUNCE $7,000 FINE IN ILLEGAL DUMPING OF USED COOKING OIL IN NAUGATUCK
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren "Pete" Hess announced today the Office of the Attorney General has secured a $7,000 fine from the owner of a box truck involved in illegal dumping of stolen used cooking oil in Naugatuck. This is a significant fine that resolves the seizure of this vehicle that was used in violation of environmental laws. The money will be used to combat illegal dumping and blight in Naugatuck.
"This fine sends a strong message that the Office of the Attorney General takes illegal dumping very seriously and will take strong action to protect our towns from environmental harm. Illegal dumping is a significant problem for municipalities across Connecticut, and vehicle forfeiture is one important tool we have to combat this issue. The theft and dumping in this case was serious. This kind of illegal activity will not be tolerated. I want to thank the assistant attorneys general in my office who worked closely with local authorities to aggressively pursue this case," said Attorney General Tong.
“This is just the beginning of a concerted effort to stop illegal dumping in Naugatuck. We will pursue all available remedies against all perpetrators including: criminal prosecutions, significant fines, and vehicle forfeiture. We have a duty to our citizens to protect our natural elements. Thank you to the Naugatuck Police Department for completing its investigation swiftly and successfully, as well as the Attorney General’s Office and DEEP in their concerted efforts," said Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren "Pete" Hess.
On August 16, 2019, the Naugatuck Police Department received a report of two men dumping liquid from the back of a box truck into the Thurston Pond reservoir area. By the time authorities arrived on the scene, the two men had departed. Police observed a 3,900 foot trail of spilled oil leading from the nearby Stop & Shop loading dock to the dumping site. Police determined that the two individuals had stolen the cooking oil by loading it onto tanks in the rear of the box truck. Discovering that the tanks were overfilled, the two individuals allegedly pulled into a wetlands area and dumped the used cooking oil from the truck onto the ground. Those two individuals were subsequently arrested by the Naugatuck Police Department on charges of littering, water pollution, larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny.
Connecticut state law allows for the seizure of vehicles used in violations of certain environmental laws, including illegal dumping. Those cases are handled by the Office of the Attorney General. Working with the Naugatuck Police Department, the Office of the Attorney General identified the owner of the box truck, Quin Zen Chen, who is also the owner of R & L Oil Recycling. On August 23, Mr. Chen was served a vehicle forfeiture summons. In exchange for return of the box truck, Mr. Chen has now paid a $7,000 fine, which will go to a fund in the Borough of Naugatuck that will combat illegal dumping and blight. This is the first influx of money to this newly created local program.
Assistant Attorney Generals Michael Lynch and Matt Levine, Head of the Environment Department, are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.