CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte has returned a criminal indictment, charging David Stuart Lutz, the Director of Public Works (DPW) for the City of Brevard, with environmental crimes related to the handling, transportation, and storage of hazardous waste, announced Andrew Murray U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Chuck Carfagno, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID) of the Atlanta Area Office, and Robert Schurmeier, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), join U.S. Attorney Murray in making the Thursday, September 17, 2020 announcement.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, Lutz, 64, of Pisgah Forest, N.C., violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, by illegally directing DPW employees to dig up soil known to be hazardous for lead, from the backstop of the City of Brevard’s (the City) firing range, without the use of any of the required protective equipment or procedural safeguards. The indictment further alleges that Lutz directed the employees to transport the contaminated soil in City-owned vehicles, without the requisite hazardous waste manifest. As alleged in the indictment, Lutz further instructed the employees to move the contaminated soil to the DPW Operations Center and store it there, even though the area is not permitted as a treatment, storage, or disposal location for hazardous waste, such as lead. According to the indictment, the alleged hazardous waste violations occurred from about May 3, 2016, to on or about May 5, 2016.
Lutz will have his initial appearance in federal court in Asheville, before U.S. Magistrate Judge W. Carleton Metcalf in the coming days.
The charges against Lutz are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The charge of illegally transporting hazardous waste without a manifest carries a maximum prison term of two years and a $50,000 for each day of violation. The illegal transportation of hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility, and the illegal storage of hazardous waste, each carry a maximum prison term of five years.
In making the announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the EPA-CID and the SBI for their investigation that led to charges.
Assistant United States Attorney Steven Kaufman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is prosecuting the case.