It’s a familiar site that happened again on Tuesday. “9 Investigates” cameras capturing video of the agents with the Environmental Protection Agency as they scour property belonging to a former Sioux City council member and his recycling business.
The EPA wouldn’t comment on its latest examination of this property on Steuben Street in Sioux City- one of the locations where Aaron Rochester operates Recycletronics. They referred questions to the US Attorney’s office because the case is an ongoing federal probe.
As “9 Investigates” reported back in February during another EPA search, federal and state authorities have been looking into alleged illegal dumping over the past two years.
Rochester downplayed Tuesday’s search by environmental regulators, suggesting to “9 Investigates” that it was simply routine.
“We have an ongoing relationship with the IDNR. We see them all the time. The EPA probably in the last four years have made stops once, twice a year just to kind of go through and they do that with everybody. Anyone that’s got anything like we do. They’ll just stop and they’ll take a look and see what you’re doing. Take pictures just like OSHA. I mean, we’ve had OSHA over here four or five times in the last six years,” says Aaron Rochester, owner of Recycletronics.
Some of the visits Rochester mentions have been anything but routine, as “9 Investigates” documented back in February when the EPA executed a search warrant at another one of his facilities on G Street in South Sioux City.
They examined a large junk pile with twisted metal and glass shards outside his storage facility and collected samples. The EPA told “9 Investigates” the debris pile was believed to be contaminating groundwater. The EPA cited violations of “failure to manage a facility to minimize the possibility of a release” and “failure to perform a hazardous waste determination.” Authorities also say Rochester repeatedly failed to satisfy their environmental records requests.
Rochester sits on the city’s Environmental Advisory Board.