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California Water Agency Officials Charged With Burying Hazardous Waste And Corruption

California's attorney general has charged five former and current employees of the Panoche Water District in central California with felonies, including using public funds for personal items and illegally burying barrels of hazardous waste.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control at California's Environmental Protection Agency says it found 86 drums,each holding between 35 and 55 gallons of "chlorine, caustic soda, iron chloride and a mixture of used antifreeze, used solvents, and used oil."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra accused former Panoche Water District General Manager Dennis Falaschi and former employees Jack Hurley and Dubby West of disposing of the chemicals at an unauthorized site, specifically burying them "in a pit or in the soil at the Panoche Water District yard" near Firebaugh, Calif.

West and another former employee, Julie Cascia, were also charged with transporting hazardous waste including a drum from the Panoche Water District Auto Shop to an unpermitted site.

Construction workers discovered barrels about a year ago on the district's land in Fresno County, according to The Fresno Bee.

When workers from the DTSC removed the barrels, they found "that the liquid hazardous waste was leaking into the ground."

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