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Feds charge Upstate business with hazardous waste crime

Release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia announces indictment on Welch Group Environmental
Release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia announces indictment on Welch Group Environmental

COLUMBIA, SC An Upstate business and its owner have been indicted on charges of illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste and releasing hazardous air pollution in Anderson County, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Welch Group Environmental and executive Glenn Welch, 52, of Belton, were charged in a five-count indictment, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Acting U.S. Attorney Beth Drake declined comment, but a news release from her office said Welch faces possible prison time if convicted.

The storage charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $50,000 fine, while the air pollution charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Details of the violations were not available Tuesday, but the indictment isn’t the first time Welch Group Environmental has run into trouble with the federal government.

In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for 17 health violations over the cleanup of a shooting range in Florida, according to an OSHA news release. The release alleged that Welch “knowingly neglected’’ to protect workers from overexposure to lead.

Attempts to reach Welch were unsuccessful after the indictments were announced. The Range Report, a publication of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, called Welch “an expert in lead reclamation’’ in a 2013 news item about range industry consultants.

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