A construction worker whose company contracts with University of California Hastings College of the Law pleaded not guilty today to allegedly dumping hazardous waste in San Francisco’s Bayview District.
Eusebio Castillo, 61, pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court to five counts—four felonies and a misdemeanor—of violating various health and safety codes in connection with the dumping in December 2012.
Castillo, working with American Building Maintenance Inc., a contractor with the school, was given permission to take construction materials home for personal use after the school no longer needed them, Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Wagner said.
After using some of the materials, Castillo allegedly abandoned 23 containers at Oakdale Avenue and Quint Street, including some with hazardous corrosive materials and others with latex paint, Wagner said.
The containers said “Hastings College of the Law” on them, allowing investigators to track them back to the school and eventually to Castillo, who admitted to abandoning them, Wagner said.
She said the Bayview District has had a lot of trouble with abandoned hazardous materials and this particular batch “could have endangered children or animals or gotten into the Bay. It’s a very serious environmental crime.”
Wagner asked for Castillo to be held on $63,000 bail, but Deputy Public Defender Ariana Downing asked Judge Rochelle East to release him on his own recognizance, saying he was a long-time employee at his company and “a very stable person.”
Downing also noted that the containers were left upright so no materials spilled.
The judge agreed to release Castillo, who was ordered to return to court again Thursday to set a preliminary hearing in the case.
District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement that Castillo “created an environmental hazard that put the Bayview community at risk.”
Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the neighborhood, said in a statement, “Long gone are the days where we turn a blind eye to illegal dumping—we take this crime seriously.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News