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Carioca Corp. to Pay $80,000 for Dumping Contaminated Soil

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Nov. 21, 2006) Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens today announced that Phoenix-based Carioca Corporation will pay an $80,000 penalty for illegally disposing of gasoline-contaminated soil near a Carioca gas station in Prescott.

In October 2004, a contractor hired by Carioca to construct a car wash deposited contaminated soil at two different residential properties near the gas station rather than disposing of it according to environmental regulations. The soil was contaminated with benzene and gasoline.

The property owners, who intended to use the soil for home improvement projects, were unaware the soil was contaminated. One homeowner notified ADEQ after noticing the soil smelled like petroleum.

After receiving a Notice of Violation from ADEQ, Carioca removed the contaminated soil from the residential properties and disposed of it in a landfill approved for contaminated soil disposal. To settle the violations, Carioca has agreed to pay the State an $80,000 penalty.

“This company placed a residential neighborhood in jeopardy by trying to dump contaminated soil rather than taking it to a designated landfill,” Goddard said. “Fortunately, through the cooperative efforts of the homeowners and ADEQ, these violations were caught and corrected.”

“The illegal disposal of contaminated soil put the health and safety of this community at risk,” Owens said. “This irresponsible action could have had some very serious consequences for the local property owners, who fortunately contacted us for help.”

The settlement is subject to court approval.