- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Regulators are seeking tough penalties against a former Sioux City councilman and his electronics recycling company, accusing them of repeatedly violating environmental law.

Recycletronics owner Aaron Rochester wrongfully has stored lead-containing glass cathode ray tubes at a Sioux City facility and illegally stored or disposed of the material at five more locations, according to Iowa Natural Resources Department documents. The department said Rochester hasn’t paid more than $75,000 owed on a state loan used to buy equipment.

Other violations include a lack of records on the disposal of materials and of shipments of materials coming in and out of the facility.

“U.S. EPA’s report for these inspections found widespread lead soil contamination due to broken leaded glass disposed of on the ground,” department officials said in a litigation report filed with the state Environmental Protection Commission.

Department officials are asking permission from the commission to turn the case over to the state attorney general’s office, which can seek higher penalties than the department. State law caps the department’s fines at $10,000.

“We only seek referral if we’re not having any enforcement success,” said David Scott, an attorney in the department’s legal services bureau.

The commission will consider the request at a meeting Aug. 15.

The department notified Rochester in March that it wouldn’t renew the company’s permit to recycle cathode ray tubes because of non-compliance with state and federal regulations.

Rochester said he has been working with the department to close Recycletronics.

“We’ve been closed and we haven’t accepted anything since February,” Rochester said.

The department also said federal regulators have inspected Recycletronics sites in Nebraska.

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