A couple were given probation on the charges of placing someone in danger of death or serious bodily injury from a hazardous waste due to the improper transport and storage of 9 million pounds of hazardous waste in a warehouse in Franklin County.

Daryl and Penny Duncan pleaded guilty in June in U.S. District Court to a misdemeanor charge of placing someone in danger of death or serious bodily injury from a hazardous waste.

Daryl Duncan was sentenced Thursday, Nov. 1, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Penny Duncan was sentenced Oct. 16. 

In June, the Duncans admitted to improperly transporting and storing hazardous waste in a warehouse on Zero Road outside of Berger for about four years between 2013 and 2017.

They also have agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $1.5 million to offset costs of cleaning up the hazardous waste and remediation of the warehouse.

At issue is spent sandblasting media waste containing heavy metals created when paint is removed from equipment on military bases.

The used sandblasting media was stored in 55-gallon drums and large sacks inside the Berger warehouse.

As part of the guilty plea, the Duncans admitted they arranged for the hazardous materials to be transported and stored without informing employees of the trucking companies about the dangers involved with the materials they were handling.

The charges stem from a September 2017 federal indictment accusing companies from Missouri and Ohio, and their officers, of first dumping the hazardous materials in Mississippi before being dug up and illegally transported to Franklin County.

The spent media, used to sandblast paint from tanks, airplanes and other military equipment, contains heavy metals including cadmium, chromium and lead.

According to the federal indictment, the powder-like hazardous remains were required under federal regulations to be recycled.

Investigators alleged instead of properly cleaning the hazardous waste, the material was transported to Berger from October through December 2013.

There was never a permit to move the waste to the facility in Franklin County.

Since the discovery of the waste, concerns have been raised about the warehouse being in the flood plain and its proximity to the Missouri River and Berger Creek.

There is no record of the building ever flooding.

The Duncans were not the original handlers of the waste, but the chain of custody ends with them.

The waste was originally dumped in Mississippi by an Ohio company, U.S. Technology Corp., which ignored numerous orders by the EPA to remove it.

In 2013, Daryl Duncan created the company Missouri Green Materials, which was subsequently hired by U.S. Technology Corp. under federal pressure to move the hazardous materials that ended up in Berger.