Indictment says businessman illegally disposed of hazardous waste

A former businessman is charged with the illegal storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste, according to a federal grand jury indictment.

Kenneth Gravitt was indicted Thursday on one count of conspiracy and seven counts of environmental law crimes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Gravitt was the owner and operator of Global Environmental Services, which operated at sites in Georgetown, Cynthiana and Winchester. The company dissolved in 2016, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website.

In 2013, the company began recycling cathode ray tubes, which are the vacuum video tubes inside older box televisions and computer monitors.

Because the tubes contain large amounts of lead, their disposal presents a potential environmental hazard and is regulated by federal law. Lead is extremely toxic and can cause serious health problems upon exposure, and must be disposed in a particular way that is safe for a community.

According to the indictment, the company received for recycling many more loads of tubes than it could process and disposed of numerous tubes illegally.

Gravitt, aided and abetted by others, allegedly transported the tubes to a Georgetown landfill that did not have a permit to handle hazardous waste; stored ground-up tube glass containing excessive amounts of lead in large, open, outdoor piles; and put thousands of tubes and glass in a large hole, all in violation of federal environmental laws.

If Gravitt is convicted, the maximum punishment on each count is five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Gravitt is scheduled to be arraigned March 6 before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division.