Who will clean up the biggest abandoned electronic waste site in Colorado history?

Luminous Electronics Recycling fined $285K

DENVER - Last week 7NEWS reported that a defunct recycling firm is accused of leaving the largest mountain of abandoned electronics waste in Colorado history.

Now, 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost is asking who will pay to clean up the more than 6 million pounds of e-waste filling a 72,000-square-foot warehouse at 5301 Peoria St. in north Denver. The waste includes televisions, computer monitors, hard drives and lead-contaminated glass from old TV cathode ray tubes -- or "picture tubes."  

It's the bulk of the e-waste that Luminous Electronics Recycling Inc. left behind at several sites when it went out of business.

"We've not seen that amount of e-waste abandoned in Colorado," said state environmental protection specialist Derek Boer, who is the lead investigator in the case.

Boer said Luminous had been a state registered recycler -- and passed several inspections -- when it operated at a warehouse at 11809 East 51st Ave. in Denver.

But then the firm left that warehouse in January and moved to the bigger one on Peoria Street -- hauling with it at least three years of accumulated e-waste, according to state records obtained by 7NEWS.

Boer said Luminous never had a permit to handle hazardous wastes at the Peoria Street facility.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued a compliance order stating that Luminous and its operator, Vladimir Berniklau, have violated the Colorado Hazardous Waste Act.

The state agency has ordered Berniklau to clean up the waste it abandoned in the Peoria warehouse within 60 days. The state has also levied a $285,000 penalty against the company for storing hazardous waste at a facility that does not have the proper permit.

Typically the recycling company -- or the property owner -- is responsible for such cleanup operations.

But 7NEWS found the state doesn't really have a budget to clean up such dumping cases.

And that doesn't include the 750 tons of lead-contaminated glass shards the firm left in hauling trailers rented from a Denver firm.

"That lead can be released into the environment and that's our primary concern," Boer said.

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