The Tainan District Prosecutors Office and the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) discovered that stainless steel manufacturer Chien Shing Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. (千興股份有限公司, CSSSC) had buried approximately 13,600 metric tons of hazardous waste at its plant in Matou Town, Tainan.
Authorities excavated eight areas at the site on July 9 and found improperly disposed chromium and six other heavy metals, Apple Daily reported. Public tips had been filed with the authorities last August. After taking soil samples in the area, authorities found high levels of heavy metals. A task force was assembled to then excavate the company’s property. The sites were inspected in September and October last year, according to UDN.
It is estimated that the company disposed of the waste on site to avoid paying NT$350 million (US$11.44 million) in disposal fees.
The Tainan District Prosecutors Office referred the board of directors and CSSSC Chairman Yeh Shuo-Tang (葉碩堂) to the district court for violating waste disposal laws. Authorities seized the property and NT$200 million in assets. Yeh and former deputy director Sun Shih-kuo (孫世國) are accused of initiating the illegal waste disposal. Prosecutors are investigating additional members of the board in connection with the illegal activity. The 17 people arrested were ordered to pay bail ranging between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000.
Local farmers claim that the company had been dumping wastewater during heavy rains and floods, ruining crops.
Shares of Chien Shing Stainless Steel fell 10% on Wednesday to NT$3.51.