PORT ANGELES — Clallam County prosecutors have filed charges against the owners of Midway Metals, a waste facility on U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles, for failure to comply with environmental remediation orders.
The county has been in negotiations with owners Katrina Haymaker and Jason Hesseltine for several years, but until recently had not sought criminal charges. Sheriff Bill Benedict said in an interview Tuesday that he has personally tried to work with Haymaker to resolve issues at the site.
“I have attempted to work with them and even assist them in getting the right permits,” Benedict said. “She has $30,000 to $40,000 in fines that she’s made no effort to pay.”
Haymaker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 7, in Clallam County District Court I.
Midway Metals sits on more than 2 acres at 258010 Highway 101 near Barr Road east of Port Angeles.
According to an email last week from Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Murphy, Haymaker and Hesseltine were charged with unlawful dumping or depositing of solid waste under state law and one count of public nuisance under the county code.
Both Haymaker, who lives in Port Orchard, and Hesseltine were charged with the same two-count criminal complaint, Murphy said.
The unlawful dumping charge is what’s known as a “gross misdemeanor,” punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Under state law, the owners also can be held accountable for a cleanup restitution payment that must be greater than twice the actual cost of removing and properly disposing of the litter, or $100 per cubic foot of litter.
The law states half the restitution payment goes to the landowner where the littering occurred and the other half to the jurisdictional health department investigating the incident.
However, because in this case the landowners contributed to the littering, they will not be eligible for any restitution payments, Murphy said, and the full amount will go to cleaning up the site.
The state Department of Ecology has documentation showing contamination at the site dating back to 2008, and county officials have in the past tried to work with the owners to remediate the site.
Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves ruled in 2019 that Katrina Haymaker, owner of Midway Metals at 258010 U.S. Highway 101, was in violation of Title 7 of the county code and fined her $750.
A cleanup effort started in 2021, but in July, Benedict forwarded a criminal referral to the prosecutor’s office, citing continued violations.
Benedict previously told Peninsula Daily News the referral came after years of trying to work with the owners, the county and the state on issues like illegal dumping, soil contamination and consistent violations of county and state solid waste ordinances.
“The (Midway Metals) Site contains tons of solid waste that has been unlawfully dumped onto the property and solid waste continues to be unlawfully dumped onto the site,” the Clallam County Board of Commissioners wrote in a Cease and Desist order in January 2021.
“Despite all of the County’s efforts to convince you to abate the violations, you have not done so,” Commissioners wrote.
The letter claims that in addition to the dumping violations, the site is not permitted — nor eligible to be permitted — for a waste disposal facility.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.