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California Waste Water Company Official Sentenced for Charges Related to a Hazardous Materials Fraud Scheme

On October 30, 2017, David Wirsing, transportation manager at Santa Clara Waste Water Company (SCWWC), was sentenced in the Superior Court of California, Ventura County, to serve 7 months’ incarceration and 36 months’ probation for his role in the November 18, 2014, explosion at the SCWWC facility in Santa Paula, California. Wirsing was also ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined upon further order of the court. Under the terms and conditions of his probation, Wirsing is prohibited from any employment involving the transportation of hazardous waste.
In July 2014, Wirsing and others at SCWWC negotiated a lease for an offsite storage yard. SCWWC stored hazardous materials in excess of the amounts permitted in its hazardous materials and wastes inventory. Wirsing was involved in a criminal conspiracy to impede inspections by transferring the hazardous materials to an unsecured truck lot prior to scheduled inspections. On the morning of the explosion, SCWWC was preparing for a scheduled inspection by a Defense Logistics Agency contractor, and internal clean-up efforts were underway. Hazardous materials had been sucked from approximately 20 individual unlabeled chemical totes into a vacuum cargo tank trailer when the explosion occurred.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. This case was prosecuted by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s Office.