Florida Business Owner Arrested For Littering, Storing Untreated Bio-Medical Waste

Aug 2, 2019

The state’s Department of Environmental Protections Environmental Crimes Unit has arrested a Tampa man and business owner for littering and storing more than 50,000 pounds of untreated biomedical waste.

Basile Pertsas, who owns Waste Alliance/Sharps MD, was arrested Thursday by the DEP’s Southwest District Environmental Crimes Unit and charged with 11 felony counts of littering for commercial purposes and economic gain, 11 misdemeanor counts of nuisance injurious to health, 11 misdemeanor counts of storage of bio-medical waste at a non-permitted location and one felony count of violation of probation.

After receiving a complaint, DEP’s Office of Emergency Response searched a storage location in Plant City on July 29 where investigators found eight 53-foot trailer containers and three cargo shipping containers holding more than 50,000 pounds of untreated biomedical waste.

“Thanks to the vision and leadership of Governor DeSantis, since July 1, DEP’s new Division of Law Enforcement and Emergency Response has effectively joined forces with our regulatory staff to ensure Floridian’s safety. We will not tolerate purposeful harm to the environment or threat to public health,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “By having law enforcement, emergency response and regulatory staff all under the same roof, we were able to expedite this investigation.”

DEP will now hire a contractor to move the waste to an approved disposal facility and attempt to recover the clean up costs via legal action.

“This arrest is an example of the expertise of DEP’s Environmental Crime Unit and Office of Emergency Response,” said DEP Southwest District Director Mary Yeargan. “I am thankful for the dedication of these teams in the identification of environmental crimes and ensuring they are being appropriately addressed.”

Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.