GOSHEN — The former executive vice president of the former Westwood Chemical plant in the Town of Wallkill pleaded guilty Wednesday in Orange County Court to charges that he failed to properly dispose of drums filled with harmful chemicals from the plant.

Rocco Giovanniello, 59, of Port Jervis, pleaded guilty to one felony, endangering the public health, safety or environment, a violation of the state's environmental conservation law.

According to the state attorney general's office, which prosecuted the case, Giovanniello admitted that in 2002, he began accumulating one 55-gallon drum a month contain ing hazardous materials with toxic levels of silver and kept at least a dozen of those drums for more than a year. When Westwood closed in 2004, Giovaniello admitted those drums were abandoned instead of being disposed of properly.

Attempts to reach Giovanniello's attorney, William Dreyer, were unsuccessful.

Giovanniello will be sentenced by County Court Judge Nicholas DeRosa on Sept. 4. Assistant Attorney General James Woods asked DeRosa to sentence Giovanniello to six months in jail and five years probation. DeRosa said he would cap the sentence at that amount, which means Giovanniello could receive a shorter sentence.

Westwood, which manufactured and marketed chemicals for the cosmetics and water treatment industries from a plant on Tower Drive, had a troubled, messy history before closing its doors in October 2004. That history included a hydrochloric acid spill in 1988, as well as storage tank explosions and spills in 1990 that forced the plant to shut down for a month.

Giovanniello had been with the company since its inception.