Patrick Sullivan has a sea of unwanted junk spilling onto his property. Thousands of pounds of busted up computers, monitors and TV screens.
“If you throw a TV on the ground and the glass breaks, you have lead that can seep into the ground and contaminate. That can get into our water, it can pollute our soil," says Linda Kent from the Department of Ecology.
And the people who put it all there, aren't talking about it on camera.
Some background here: this all began last fall when Patrick Sullivan leased his Roy property.
“He said they were looking for a new facility out in the county to expand and asked us if we would lease to them," Sullivan says.
He said yes and got a signed lease from a company named Zephyr, which contracted with a non-profit doing business under the name TruRecycle.
TruRecycle promises to cart away unwanted electronics and more for free and convert it into money for charities. Thousands of pounds of that unwanted stuff ended up on Patrick Sullivan’s property when the tenants moved out.
Sullivan told me, “We were trying to get them out of the building for non-payment of rent starting the first week of January.”
And he says he tried to get the waste off the property too with no luck. So Sullivan asked us to started digging through the mess. And we found electronic waste from all kinds of city, county and state agencies.
Sullivan says he saw, “receipts from State Patrol, Centralia School District, a lot of shipping labels from the Community Health Center."
That made this story more complicated. Why?
“Under state law you're responsible from cradle to grave. From the moment you have it until the moment it's properly disposed of or recycled," Kent says.
This isn't the first time TruRecycle has come to the state's attention. The Attorney General kicked it out of the state's E-Recycle program for mishandling materials and receiving materials from improper sources.
The Attorney General ordered the program to stop using the E-Recycle logo on its website and at last check, it was still there.
TruRecycle's lawyer at the time wrote us saying the landlord locked them out of the property. Sullivan says that happened once because it wasn't paying rent, but for weeks afterwards, he's kept the place open, with no success.
Sullivan adds, “Time and time again, and either we get no response or recently they said that they're working on it. They're trying to make contact with recyclers who will put together a plan for them to properly dispose of the material.”
We've spent months trying to sort this one out and finally,some success. A crew came by to clean up the mess. But they stopped when we showed up. Zephyr now says their attorney told them to leave if our crew was there and that they left because we "compromised the safety of all persons present."
Weeks later, they eventually got the job done. And Patrick Sullivan couldn’t be happier.
“It's a good feeling. It's been a long battle."