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Polluter of the Week 1999
(More like bi-weekly, actually)

True cases of environmental criminals from real court cases

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bullet2001 - The EPA didn't save them!
bullet 2000 polluter cases
bullet 1999 polluter cases   (or just scroll down the page)
bulletSearch your area for environmental crimes

The EPA and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners investigate and prosecute significant and egregious violations of environmental laws. These investigations involve, but are not limited to, the illegal disposal of hazardous waste; the illegal discharge of pollutants to a water of the United States; the illegal importation of certain restricted or regulated chemicals into the United States; tampering with a drinking water supply; mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering relating to environmental criminal activities.

People often ask us, "It seems like companies get away with polluting all the time, just look at Exxon and the Valdez!"  While it may be true that some companies treat the environment, your community's well-being and your health like a doormat and act as though their crimes are nothing more than a public relations expense; individuals and companies are being caught all the time.  And the penalties are severe!  Follow Detective Joe Friday and read on to learn about the appalling gall of these jerks and their crimes.

It is EHSO's opinion that our society's obsession with money and instant wealth, combined with a generally apathetic public, and politicians more concerned with polls than pollution is leading to an increase in pollution and deliberate polluters.   If you suspect a persistent polluter in your area, email us (or click here to use the EPA's report a violator form) for instructions to assist the EPA in catching him!   To search a company's compliance history, click here!

Disclaimer: The following news stories are all taken verbatim from EPA releases, so don't even think of trying to sue us if you or your firm's name is here! We will WELCOME the publicity! Will your company?

In reverse chronological order:

Highlights from 1998

ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS FY 1998 EFFORTS

EPA announced today that 266 criminal cases were referred to the Department of Justice and $92.8 million in criminal fines were assessed in fiscal year 1998. EPA also referred 411 civil cases and assessed $91.8 million in civil penalties. The combined 677 referrals and $184.6 million in fines and penalties were second only to the 704 referrals and $264.4 million in fines and penalties assessed in fiscal year 1997. The Agency also reached settlements to recover $230 million in Superfund Trust Fund expenditures. For the third year, the Agency reported performance measure data on pollution reduction amounts result from enforcement actions. The data show that during FY 1998 chlorofluorocarbons were reduced by over five million pounds, asbestos by more than seven million pounds, carbon monoxide by 188 million pounds and nitrogen oxide by 23.6 million pounds. About 46 percent of the civil enforcement settlements required violators to change the way they manage their facilities or reduce emissions or discharges into the environment, while another 54 percent required violators to improve their environmental management systems, take preventive action to avoid future non-compliance, or to enhance the public's right-to-know. Also, polluters spent just over $2 billion dollars to correct violations, take additional steps to protect the environment, and clean up Superfund sites -- over $200 million more than was collectively spent the previous year.

As a part of EPA's compliance incentive policies and strategies in FY 1998, at least 200 companies disclosed potential violations at 950 facilities under the auspices of the Agency's self-disclosure (audit) policy and 63 companies have corrected violations at 390 facilities. Since the inception of the audit policy, a total of 450 companies have disclosed violations at 1,870 facilities and relief was granted to 164 companies at 540 facilities that returned to compliance. Working in partnership with business and labor, EPA created five new National Compliance Assistance Centers for the paints and coatings industry, small and medium sized chemical manufacturing, transportation and printed wiring board industries, as well as one for local governments.  There now are nine compliance assistance centers. In another emphasis on compliance assistance, EPA published nine new Sector Notebooks - a series of industry-specific multi-media profiles, which helps owners and operators of regulated industries understand their regulatory obligations and identify ways to run their businesses more economically and efficiently. There are now a total of 28 Sector
Notebooks. During fiscal year 1998, EPA also took a major step in furthering the Administration's "public right-to-know" efforts by establishing the Sector Facility Indexing Project. This project made environmental data publicly available on 653 facilities in five key industrial sectors -- automobile assembly, pulp manufacturing,
petroleum refining, iron and steel production and primary smelting. The information includes the size of the facilities, their annual estimated release of chemicals into the environment and their historical compliance record. A summary of major criminal and civil enforcement actions and compliance activities, as well as, enforcement highlights for FY 1998 are available upon request. Information regarding the Compliance Centers, Sector Notebooks and Sector Facility Indexing Project, can be accessed at: http://www.epa.gov/oeca/bgs2.html.

 

TEXAS CHEMICAL PLANT MANAGERS CONVICTED OF AIR VIOLATIONS

December 9, 1999 - Texas - Jeffrey L. Jackson, former plant manager for the Huntsman Chemical Plant in Port Arthur, Texas, and Michael Peters, Huntsman's former environmental manager and a former regional manager for the Texas Air Control Board, were convicted on Dec. 9 in U.S. District Court in Beaumont, Texas of conspiracy, making a false statement to EPA and violating the Clean Air Act. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the defendants illegally allowed benzene to be emitted from a cooling tower and also from a tank that held benzene-contaminated wastewater at the Huntsman facility. The emissions from the wastewater tank occurred after it had been struck by lightning on Nov. 2, 1995. The lightning caused a fire that damaged 20 percent of the tank seals. The defendants failed to empty the tank or repair it within 45 days as required by law. They also did not keep the tank filled to the top, which is required to prevent benzene vapor pockets from forming in the tank. The result of their actions was the airborne emission of benzene, which is a cancer-causing chemical. When sentenced, both defendants face up to 25 years in prison and/or fines up to $1.25 million. The case was investigated by EPA, the FBI, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and the Texas Environmental Crimes Task Force. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas in Beaumont.

NEW HAMPSHIRE COMPANY WILL MAKE $2.3 MILLION PAYMENT

December 21, 1999 - New Hampshire - Kluber Lubrication North America L.P., of Londonderry, N.H., entered into a $2.3 million pretrial agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire in Concord on Dec. 21. Under the terms of the agreement, Kluber accepts responsibility for knowingly violating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by importing grease products that were not listed on the Inventory of Chemical Substances maintained by EPA. The importation of unlisted products is not allowed by law in order to prevent the introduction of toxic materials into the environment. Kluber will pay a total of $2.3 million which will be divided as follows: $1.3 million will go to the United States, $750,000 will go to resolve an administrative action brought by EPA and $250,000 will fund a supplemental environmental project which Kluber will select at a future date, subject to the approval of the government. In addition, Kluber will be placed on supervision for 18 months and will present an educational program related to TSCA to an industry trade association. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the agreement was negotiated by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Hampshire.

 

CRUISE SHIP EMPLOYEES PLEAD TO DISCHARGING OIL IN ALASKA WATERS

December 9, 1999 - Alaska - Nanne Hogendorn, Dirk Smeenk and Hantje DeJong, former crew members on the cruise ship S.S. Rotterdam, all pleaded guilty on Dec. 9 in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to violating the Clean Water Act by illegally discharging oily bilge water into Alaska waters. The illegal discharge took place in September 1994, when the defendants failed to maintain and properly operate the oil-water separator aboard the Rotterdam. Oil must be removed from the water that collects in the ship's bilge so that it can be safely discharged into the ocean. In sufficient concentrations, oil on ocean surface waters can create a significant health risk for marine mammals and other aquatic species. Illegally discharging oil into marine waters carries a penalty of up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000 per violation. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

MARYLAND COMPANY SENTENCED IN JOINT CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASE

November 22, 1999 - Maryland - In a combined civil and criminal case, Interstate General Company, L.P. (IGC), was sentenced on Nov. 22, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., to pay a $1.5 million criminal fine for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). IGC also will pay a $360,000 civil penalty for violating the CWA and will join with St. Charles Associates (St.Charles), its co-defendant in the civil case, to take actions to protect and/or remediate more than 155 acres of wetlands. Both companies were involved in the development of the Dorchester Neighborhood in St. Charles County, Md. IGC previously pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Clean Water Act for illegally filling wetlands on either side of a stream that flows into the Port Tobacco River, which is a tributary of the Potomac River. The wetlands to be protected are owned by St. Charles on several parcels of land in and around the Dorchester neighborhood. Wetlands preservation is vital to the maintenance of a healthy environment because wetlands purify surface waters and provide a breeding area for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with technical assistance from EPA Headquarters and Region 3, the FBI and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

GEORGIA UTILITY COMPANY SENTENCED

November 19, 1999 - Georgia - Dalton Utilities, a municipally-owned utility company that provides electricity, sewage treatment, natural gas and drinking water for the city of Dalton, Ga., was sentenced on Nov. 19, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for its conviction on five counts of violating the Clean Water Act by falsifying wastewater analysis in monthly operating reports between May 1994 and April 1995. Dalton was fined $1 million, and was ordered to pay $500,000 of its fine immediately. The remainder of the fine will be held in abeyance, pending the successful completion of an environmental compliance program while Dalton serves three years probation. If Dalton fails to successfully complete its probation, it will be ordered to pay the remainder of its fine. Dalton Utilities, which treats wastewater from municipal and business sources, including several large carpet producers, operates one of the few wastewater systems in the United States which discharges its effluent to a land application system. This is accomplished by using 31,000 spray heads which distribute wastewater onto 10,000 acres of land. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources with assistance from the Department of Transportation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Georgia Attorney General's Office. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

VIRGINIA MAN AND COMPANY PLEAD TO FALSIFYING ASBESTOS TRAINING CERTIFICATES

November 16, 1999 - Virginia - Omar Gonzalez and his company Industrial Training Support Services (ITSS), both of Richmond Va., pleaded guilty on November 16, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to falsifying training certificates required to certify individuals to remove asbestos. Gonzalez also pleaded guilty to evading federal income taxes. Between January 1994 and August 1996, ITSS issued training certificates to asbestos workers who had not completed the safety training required to obtain the certificates. When sentenced, Gonzalez faces a maximum of up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $600,000 plus full restitution of taxes which are owed. ITSS faces a maximum fine of up to $500,000, when sentenced. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the EPA Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

TWO FORMER DRINKING WATER COMPANY EMPLOYEES INDICTED IN TEXAS

November 10, 1999 - Texas - Delbert I. Dake and Randall B. Taff, former employees of Central Texas Utilities in Tarrant County, Texas, were indicted on Nov. 10, in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth on charges of conspiracy and on two counts of allegedly making false statements. The defendants are accused of falsifying the bacteriological count in water samples from drinking water systems in five north Texas counties. Drinking water is tested for bacteria to help ensure that people who drink the water will not develop intestinal infections or other infectious diseases. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each charge. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance of the National Enforcement Investigations Center, the FBI, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, and the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. 

NEW YORK EXECUTIVE AND COMPANY SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL 

November 9, 1999 - New York - Salvatore Napolitano of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced on Nov. 9, by the U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., to serve 15 months in prison, pay $19, 034 in fines and restitution and serve three years of supervised release after completing his jail term. The defendant's company, ECCO Construction Inc., was sentenced to five years probation and prohibited from working in construction projects involving asbestos. The defendants had pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act in connection with the illegal removal of asbestos-containing material during the conversion of a former Y.M.C.A. building in New Haven into an upscale apartment development in 1997. As a result of the conspiracy, untrained and undocumented workers from Mexico were used to remove asbestos from boilers, piping and floor coverings at the building. The workers were locked in the building and were not provided with equipment to protect them from inhaling asbestos fibers. As a result of this crime, asbestos fibers were released into the air at the construction site where workers and others could inhale them. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Asbestos filled garbage bags were also illegally disposed of in various locations around New Haven. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. 

OHIO MEN INDICTED ON CLEAN AIR ACT CHARGES

November 3, 1999 - Ohio - John Krisak of Cleveland, Ohio, and Greg Sinkovitch of Alliance, Ohio, were indicted on Nov. 3 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Ohio, for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act. The defendants are accused of falsifying environmental test reports concerning particulate matter air flow from an electric arc furnace used to produce steel. Breathing air which contains higher than allowed amounts of particulate matter can produce a variety of lung diseases including emphysema. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. 

FLORIDA COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY

November 2, 1999 - Florida - G&M Land Holdings Inc., of Pompano Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Nov. 2 in U.S. District Court in Ft. Lauderdale for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally disposing of hazardous waste. G&M buried drums containing benzene and other ignitable wastes under a truck ramp at its facility. In addition to being ignitable, benzene is known to cause cancer in humans. The court ordered G&M to pay $75,437.94 to the EPA and $102,600 to a private consulting firm for cleaning up the dump site. In addition, G&M was also ordered to pay $100,000 to various state and local law enforcement agencies that investigated the case. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff's Office, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

 

 

TWO PENNSYLVANIA MEN INDICTED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

October 28, 1999 - Pennsylvania - Robert Schippers and Ronald Padula, both of Easton, Pa., were indicted on Oct. 28, in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on multiple counts of violating the Clean Water Act and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Schippers owned and operated Schippers Service Inc., a trucking company located in Easton that transported hazardous materials such as kerosene, diesel fuel, gasoline, aviation gas and #2 and #6 fuel oil. Padula was the head mechanic at Schippers Service and was licensed by Pennsylvania to perform state required safety inspections on automobiles and trucks. The defendants allegedly cleaned truck cargo tanks in a wash bay at the Schipper's Service facility and then emptied the waste water directly into the sewer system owned by the city of Easton. The waste water allegedly contained hazardous chemicals including petroleum residues from the tanks and kerosene and diesel fuel used to clean the tanks. Dumping petroleum products into public sewers can create an explosion hazard, harm sewae treatment facility equipment and destroy bacteria that are necessary for the proper treatment of sewage. The defendants also are accused of falsifying vehicle inspection reports on numerous occasions. If convicted on all counts, Schippers faces a maximum sentence of 228 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $11.5 million. Padula faces a maximum prison sentence of 105 years and/or a fine of up to $5.75 million, if convicted on all counts. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General's Office and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 

PHILADELPHIA MAN CHARGED WITH VIOLATIONS FOR DUMPING ASBESTOS 

October 28, 1999 - Pennsylvania - Thomas Chau, also known as Tam Minn Chau and Tam Minh Chau, of Philadelphia, Pa. was indicted on Oct. 28, in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on five counts for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act. Chau allegedly was responsible for the illegal removal of asbestos from a former public school building in Philadelphia in 1997. The asbestos was allegedly improperly removed with sledgehammers, was not wet down as required, was disposed of in trash bags instead of the required sealed and marked containers and was allegedly illegally transported and dumped on a Southwest Philadelphia street near a low-income neighborhood. In addition, the defendant is accused of lying to EPA about the removal. Federal regulations for the removal of asbestos are designed to prevent asbestos fibers from becoming airborne because inhaling asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer. If convicted on all charges, Chau faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and/or up to $1.5 million in fines. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and EPA Region III, the FBI, and the Asbestos Control Unit of the Philadelphia Department of Health and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

TEXAS FIRM SENTENCED FOR FIFRA VIOLATIONS 

October 27, 1999 - Texas - Friendly Systems Inc. of Irving, Texas, was sentenced on Oct. 27, in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen, S.D., for its July conviction on three counts of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Friendly was fined $450,000, which will be suspended if the company pays $150,000 into a special fund to be used for the health care needs of Sioux Indian children on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Friendly was also placed on five years probation and ordered to pay $9,375 restitution to the Federal Crime Victims Assistance Fund and $1,282.39 to the Rosebud Sioux Head Start Program. Friendly illegally sold the pesticides Tisan and DDS-164 to tribal programs for sanitizing children's toothbrushes, a use that is inconsistent with their FIFRA registrations. These pesticides are registered and labeled for the purpose of sanitizing floors and silverware. Friendly sold the pesticides in November 1995 and October 1996 to the Rosebud Head Start Program and to the Badlands Head Start Program in February and March 1997. Many of the approximately 100 children who were exposed to the pesticide by brushing their teeth with toothbrushes dipped in pesticide developed medical problems, including blisters and burns in their mouths. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

OIL COMPANY EXECUTIVE SENTENCED TO 29 MONTHS IN PRISON

October 25, 1999 - Mississippi - John R. Cooke was sentenced to serve 29 months in prison and three years of supervised release and to pay $6,000 in fines and special assessments by the U.S. District Court in Natchez, Miss., on Oct. 25. Cooke, who is from the Houston, Texas, area was an executive and part owner of M&S Petroleum Inc., which operated the Barrett Refinery south of Vicksburg, Miss. In July a jury found Cooke guilty of one count of conspiracy, four counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), two counts of violating the Clean Air Act and three counts of making false statements. Between April 1995 and May 1996, Cooke violated the Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants into the Mississippi River and Hatcher Bayou. He made false statements to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and intentionally did not perform required environmental testing at the refinery. The result of the conspiracy was the unpermitted discharge of benzene and other pollutants into the Mississippi River and Hatcher Bayou and the release of benzene into the air. Benzene is acutely toxic and can cause cancer. In addition, more than one million gallons of hazardous wastes were abandoned at the refinery in violation of RCRA. Barrett Refining was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and serve 36 months probation. Barrett's part owner Donald Mullins was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 150 hours of community service. M&S Petroleum was sentenced to pay a $25,000 fine and serve five years probation. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and EPA's Region 4 office, the Inspector General's Office of U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

MASSACHUSETTS MAN AND COMPANY CHARGED WITH REFRIGERANT SALES FRAUD

October 25, 1999 - Massachusetts - George Haras of Burlington, Mass., also known as George Haralambos, and the company he controlled, U.S. Environmental Technologies, which did business in Burlington as United Chemical Co., were both charged with five counts of mail fraud on Oct. 25 in U.S. District Court in Boston. The charges allege that the defendants illegally sold the refrigerant R-409A to more than 60 customers who thought it was the refrigerant R-12, which is a highly controlled chloroflourocarbon refrigerant used in air conditioning systems of motor vehicles manufactured before 1994. R-12 is strictly controlled under the Clean Air Act because its release can cause significant damage to the earth's ozone layer. R-409A is a less expensive and readily available refrigerant that can cause significant damage to air conditioner and charging systems that are designed to use R-12. By substituting R-409A for R-12, the defendants allegedly defrauded their customers out of approximately $293,355. If convicted, Haras faces a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine on each count. U.S. Environmental Technologies faces a fine of up to $500,000 on each count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts. 

WEST VIRGINIA MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL SEWAGE DISCHARGE

October 25, 1999 - West Virginia - James Bragg of Lanark, W.Va., was sentenced to one year in prison and one year supervised release on Oct. 25, in U.S. District Court in Beckley for Clean Water Act violations. Bragg owned a sewage treatment facility in Grandview, W.Va. Bragg previously admitted that in June1996 he allowed untreated sewage from the plant to flow into the waters of Pledge Branch, which ultimately empties into the New River. Untreated sewage waste usually contains fecal coliform that can spread infectious diseases. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

ROYAL CARIBBEAN SENTENCED FOR POLLUTING ALASKAN WATERS

October 22, 1999 - Alaska - of Miami, Fla., was sentenced on Oct. 22, to pay a $6.5 million fine and five years probation by the U.S. District Court in Anchorage. In July 1999 Royal Caribbean Cruises pleaded guilty to seven counts of making false statements to government officials and knowingly discharging a harmful quantity of oil to navigable waters of the United States. The false statements were made through fictitious entries in oil record books presented to the U.S. Coast Guard during routine inspections of the RCCL vessels Nordic Prince and Sun Viking in 1994 and 1995. The fictitious entries were intended to prevent the U.S. Coast Guard from discovering the discharges of oil from these vessels into Alaskan waters. The discharge of waste oil into surface waters can cause significant harm to fish and aquatic life. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska in conjunction with the Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes Division.


ALLIED ENVIRONMENTAL CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY TO DUMP WASTEWATER

October 20, 1999 - Oklahoma - Allied's President and a Trucking Company Officer Also Convicted in the Scheme WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal jury today convicted Allied Environmental Services, Inc. and its president with conspiracy to dump more than 300,000 gallons of wastewater contaminated with petroleum into underground wells - an activity that can pollute drinking water. The jury in Tulsa, Okla., also convicted the owner of Overholt Trucking, which transported the wastewater to Oklahoma. The jury found that both Allied Environmental and its president, Koteswara Attaluri, conspired to violate federal clean water and hazardous waste laws and committed fraud. Federal prosecutors identified Attaluri as the leader of an illegal scheme to dump the wastewater into injection wells in Oklahoma. The jury also convicted Overholt Trucking owner Mac DeWayne Overholt for the same conspiracy and fraud charges, as well as criminal charges under the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. "We are pleased with today's verdict," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. "We will continue to vigorously prosecute cases involving threats to our nation's drinking water." 

To protect underground drinking water sources, the Safe Drinking Water Act prohibits the unauthorized use of injection wells that are associated with oil and gas production. As part of its environmental consulting business, Overland Park, Kan.-based Allied was involved in the removal of underground storage tanks and petroleum-tainted wastewater from military facilities in Kansas and Missouri. "Protecting drinking water is vital to the health of the American people," said EPA Assistant Administrator Steve Herman. "Criminal disregard for public health and the environment will not be tolerated. Today's action should serve as notice that clean water and hazardous waste laws will be enforced and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The government charged that Allied and Attaluri arranged with Overholt to transport the wastewater to Oklahoma and inject it into wells in Cushing, Beggs, and Lincoln County without a permit issued by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The scheme occurred over a 15-month period during 1994 and 1995 and involved the disposal of more than 310,000 gallons of petroleum-contaminated wastewater into injection wells. The defendants will be sentenced on January 31, 1999 in U.S. District Court in Tulsa. They were immediately jailed following the verdicts today. The remaining defendant who was charged in the case, Allied employee Gary Bicknell, was acquitted today. The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; the >Department of Defense, Criminal Investigative Services; and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. It was prosecuted by United States Attorney Stephen Lewis of the Northern District of Oklahoma and Senior Trial Attorney Andrew Goldsmith of Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department.

THREE IN NEW YORK CONVICTED OF ASBESTOS VIOLATIONS

October 8, 1999 - New York - Melvin Weintraub of Purchase, N.Y., and two of his companies Morelite Development and Construction Inc., and Liberty Realty Associates LLC, both of Elmsford, N.Y., were convicted on Oct. 8, in U.S. District Court in New Haven, of conspiracy and of participating in the illegal stripping, removal and disposal of asbestos in violation of the Clean Air Act. The charges arose from the illegal removal of asbestos-containing material during the conversion of a former Y.M.C.A. building into an upscale apartment development in New Haven in 1997. Weintraub, Morelite and Liberty were convicted of causing untrained and unprotected workers to remove asbestos from boilers, piping and floor coverings at the building. As a result of this activity, asbestos fibers were released into the air where workers and others could inhale them. Evidence indicated that the defendants used undocumented workers from Mexico to remove the asbestos and locked them in the building without protective equipment while they were working. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. In addition, asbestos filled garbage bags were also illegally disposed of in various locations around New Haven. Evidence showed that Weintraub took part in efforts to create false documents that suggested that the asbestos had been legally removed. By not having a licensed asbestos contractor legally remove the asbestos using required safety procedures, the defendants avoided an estimated $375,000 in asbestos removal costs. When sentenced, Weintraub faces a maximum sentence of up to 32 years in prison and/or fines of up to $1.75 million. Morelite and Liberty each face fines of up to $3.5 million. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

NEW YORK MAN CONVICTED ON ASBESTOS CHARGES

October 1, 1999 - New York - Steven Hunter of Cayuga, N.Y., was convicted on Oct. 1, in U.S. District Court in Syracuse on seven counts of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly removing asbestos. Hunter is the owner of Hunter Heating, Contracting and Plumbing. The jury found that while conducting asbestos abatement at the Masonic Temple in Auburn, N.Y., he failed to inspect the building for asbestos, failed to have a certified contractor perform the work, failed to properly wet and bag the asbestos, failed to properly label containers filled with asbestos, and failed to dispose of the asbestos at a landfill approved for that purpose. The improper removal of asbestos can lead to the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers which can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. When sentenced, Hunter faces a maximum of up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

MISSOURI LAB CITED FOR SELLING INEFFECTIVE HOSPITAL AND TUBERCULOCIDAL PRODUCTS

September 30, 1999 - Missouri - On Sept. 30, EPA issued a complaint against Wexford Labs Inc., of Kirkwood, Mo., and is seeking a civil penalty of $224,000 from the company for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA alleges that the company failed to notify the Agency in a timely manner about factual information regarding unreasonable adverse effects of its pesticides Super Wex-Cel, EPA Reg. No. 34810-7 and Wex-Cide, EPA Reg. No. 34810-8, as well as sold and distributed ineffective hospital disinfectant and tuberculocidal products. The products are registered for disinfecting floors, walls, bathroom fixtures and shower stalls and for use in hospitals, nursing homes, nurseries, operating rooms, and other health care facilities. Six sample products failed government efficacy tests when used according to label directions. Under FIFRA, EPA requires companies that register pesticides to submit many types of tests, including studies of potential risks of the pesticides to human health and the environment and tests that show that the product is effective as claimed on the label. Disinfectant products play an important role in infection control; health care providers, consumers, and others rely on EPA's registration of these products as evidence that they work as claimed on the label. Registrants have 30 days to respond to the complaints and may request a hearing to contest the facts in the complaint or the size of the penalty. A copy of the complaint can be obtained by calling EPA's hearing clerk at 202-260-4865.

CHEMICAL COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO HAZARDOUS WASTE CRIME THAT KILLED OHIO EMPLOYEE

September 30, 1999 - Ohio - Lancaster Synthesis Inc. (Lancaster), a company headquartered in New Hampshire, pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The violations created a hazardous situation which caused the death of a man in Cincinnati. Lancaster operated a chemical facility in Blythewood, S.C., where it manufactured highly explosive azide products and other chemicals. The defendant admitted that when the Blythewood facility was closed in 1993, it shipped an unlabeled drum containing an explosive sodium azide compound to Clean Harbors Inc., a hazardous waste storage, transport and disposal company in Cincinnati. In addition to failing to label the drum, as required by law, Lancaster also admitted to falsifying the drum's manifest to indicate that the drum did not contain hazardous waste. On Oct. 7, 1995, the drum exploded, killing Joel Murray, a supervisor at Clean Harbors. The plea agreement calls for Lancaster to pay a $250,000 fine and develop an environmental compliance program at each of its facilities in the United States. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and Superfund program, the FBI, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Cincinnati Fire Division. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

MARYLAND TRASH COMPANIES AND COMPANY OFFICIAL SENTENCED

September 24, 1999 - Maryland - A.W. Stevens and Sons Waste Disposal Systems Inc.(A.W. Stevens), of Prince George's County, Md.; St. Mary's Disposal Systems, Inc., of St. Mary's County, Md.; and Michael W. Stevens, Vice President of A.W. Stevens; were all sentenced on Sept. 24, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt for federal crimes from the operation of an illegal solid waste disposal operation. A.W. Stevens and St. Mary's Disposal were sentenced to pay a total of $1.3 million for false claims, false statements, and Clean Water Act violations. Michael W. Stevens, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of filing false claims against the United States Navy, was sentenced to five months imprisonment followed by five months home confinement, and was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine. The defendants operated illegal solid waste transfer stations in Prince George's and St. Mary's counties. These stations did not have permits to operate, and were used to ship solid waste from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Indian Head Naval Ordinance Station and the U.S. Naval Academy in Anapolis to Virginia. The companies' contracts with the Navy called for the waste to be disposed of at facilities in the District of Columbia and Maryland which had higher landfill tipping fees than the Virginia facilities. The defendants submitted false papers to the Navy that claimed the waste was disposed of in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and then billed the government for its higher cost of disposal. As a result, the Navy was overcharged by approximately $800,000. The companies also washed trucks at the illegal transfer stations, causing pollution to run into a tributary of the Potomac River. In addition to the criminal fine the companies will pay a $2 million federal civil penalty, and a separate civil action in state court will result in $80,000 in fines being paid to both Prince George's and St. Mary's counties. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the St. Mary's County Planning and Zoning Administration and the Prince George's County Environmental Crimes Task Force and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Maryland Attorney General's Office.

WORKER AT TEXAS COMPANY INDICTED FOR WATER VIOLATION

September 23, 1999 - Texas - Robert W. Hopkins, an employee at the E. Henderson Grease and Septic Tank Cleaning Service in New Caney, Texas, was indicted on Sept. 23, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. The charges allege that from 1997 until 1999, Hopkins dumped sewage and other septic waste into the San Jacinto and Trinity Rivers. The San Jacinto River flows into Lake Houston which is Houston's major source of drinking water. Sewage contains E. coli and other bacteria and pathogens which can cause a variety of infections when ingested. If convicted, Hopkins faces a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

OREGON MAN INDICTED FOR ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL ON INDIAN LANDS

September 28, 1999 - Oregon - Bruce A. Anderson, who oversaw economic development for the Coquille Indian Tribe Reservation in Coos Bay/North Bend, Ore., was indicted on Sept. 28, in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and for allegedly making false statements to a federal officer. These charges are the result of an alleged failure to follow prescribed CAA work practices for handling asbestos material. In May 1995, while Anderson was President of the Coquille Economic Development Council, he allegedly ordered the removal of asbestos containing wallboard during a building renovation without adhering to the CAA requirements for the safe handling of asbestos. He also allegedly ordered the illegal disposal of the asbestos wallboard by burial as well as by burning on the Reservation. Finally, the defendant is alleged to have made false statements to a federal law enforcement officer concerning his knowledge of the alleged illegal asbestos activities. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's Region 10 Air Division, the FBI, the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL BRINGS GUILTY PLEAS AND INDICTMENTS IN ILLINOIS

September 24, 1999 - Illinois - Curry Environmental Services Inc. (CES), and three CES employees pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, in U.S. District Court in Rock Island, Ill., to violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) in connection with the improper removal of asbestos at various sites in Illinois and Iowa over the past 10 years. In addition, two other CES employees were also indicted on CAA charges. CES President Teresa Lynn Cook of Taylor Ridge, Ill., pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the CAA. Timothy Coutts of Rock Island, Ill., and Darren Wright of North Hinsdale, Ill., both pleaded guilty to violating the CAA by failing to adequately wet asbestos during renovation operations. Dale L. Roseman of Orion, Ill., and Alan Lee Talbot of Rock Island, Ill., were both charged with conspiracy to violate the CAA and with failing to wet asbestos before removal. Federal regulations require that asbestos be wetted before removal as well as other safety procedures to prevent asbestos fibers from being inhaled. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and meosthelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The plea agreement calls for CES to pay a $1 million fine and for Cook to pay a fine of $20,000. Coutts and Wright each face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up the $250,000, when sentenced. Roseman faces a maximum of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1 million, if convicted. Talbot faces a maximum of up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000, if convicted. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Attorney General's Office, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

OHIO MAN SENTENCED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

September 17, 1999 - Ohio - Ronald M. Merckle of Moxahala, Ohio, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and was ordered to pay $7,750 in fines and assessments on Sept. 17, by the U.S. District Court in Columbus for his conviction on 31 counts of violating the Clean Water Act. Between September 1993 and September 1996, Merckle submitted false reports to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency concerning the levels of fecal coliform bacteria, ammonia and other pollutants which were being discharged from six wastewater treatment plants in Muskingum County in southern Ohio. Contact with waters that have high levels of fecal coliform bacteria can cause a variety of infectious diseases in people. Waters with high levels of ammonia are also harmful to fish and other aquatic life. Merckle was the sanitary engineer for Muskingum County and he was also the vice president, treasurer and half-owner of the TCW company of New Lexington, Ohio. TCW had a contract with the county to manage the six treatment plants. The case was investigated by EPA' Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Special Investigations Unit, and the Ohio Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Investigations, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

VIRGINIA PUBLIC SERVICE AUTHORITY AND TWO FORMER EMPLOYEES SENTENCED

September 14, 1999 - Virginia - The Henry County Public Service Authority (Henry County), Thomas Clark, a former Sewage Treatment Division manager, and Mark L. Nolen, a former supervisor, were sentenced on Sept. 14, in U.S. District Court in Roanoke for violating the Clean Water Act. Henry County was ordered to pay a fine of $1 million, $900,000 of which will be used in community projects in the county. Clark was sentenced to two months home confinement and a $30,000 fine. Nolen was sentenced to two months home confinement and a $5,000 fine. The violations arose from the improper operation and maintenance of the Upper Smith Wastewater Treatment Plant and the failure to accurately monitor and report the pollutant content of discharges from the Upper Smith facility and from the Piedmont Estates Sewage Treatment Lagoon. Failure to properly maintain the Upper Smith facility resulted in the periodic discharge of sewage solids into the Smith River between January 1992 and November 1995. The discharge of sewage solids can introduce sufficient quantities of bacteria into surface waters to make them unsafe for recreational uses and can harm aquatic life. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, the FBI, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

WASHINGTON SALVAGE YARD OWNER INDICTED FOR DUMPING ON INDIAN LANDS

September 14, 1999 - Washington - Robert Stilwell, former owner of Goldendale Auto Wrecking in Goldendale, Wash., was indicted on Sept. 14, in U.S. District Court in Yakima for the alleged illegal disposal of hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The defendant allegedly paid a former employee $100 to dispose of over 400 gallons of paint related wastes, including enamels, tank liners, and solvents. The materials were allegedly illegally deposited in the woods on property owned by the Yakima Indian Nation, outside of Goldendale. If convicted, Stilwell faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

HAWAII FARM OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO PESTICIDE CRIME 

September 13, 1999 - Hawaii - Kap Dong Kim, owner of a ginger root farm in Hilo, Hawaii, pleaded guilty on Sept. 13, in U.S. District Court in Honolulu to illegally using the restricted use pesticide "Nemacur" on his ginger root crop in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. Kim also admitted to misleading a government official in order to conceal his crime. Kim directed workers to apply Nemacur to his ginger root crop, even though Nemacur is prohibited for use on ginger root. After the worker was injured, Kim deliberately failed to disclose that his worker had applied Nemacur when questioned by an Hawaii Department of Agriculture official who was conducting the investigation. When sentenced, Kim faces a maximum term of up to 5 years 1 month imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $255,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

 

FLORIDA COMPANY CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL HAZARDOUS WASTE STORAGE

August 31, 1999, Florida - EnviroTech, Southeast Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla., industrial wastewater treatment company, was charged on Aug. 31, in U.S.   District Court in Jacksonville with storing hazardous wastes in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.    EnviroTech had an industrial wastewater pretreatment permit issued by the city of Jacksonville to accept and process nonhazardous wastewater and release it into the city sewer system.  The defendant did not have a permit to accept, store, treat or dispose of hazardous waste.  The charges allege that EnviroTech stored hazardous wastes in unmarked tanks at its Jacksonville facility between May 1994 and November 1995.  The wastes allegedly contained hazardous levels of lead, benzene, tricholorethylene and tetrachloroethylene.  Exposure to lead compounds is a cause of neurological disorders in people and benzene exposure can cause cancer.  If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible fine of up to $500,000   and/or up to five years of probation.  The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Naval  Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, and the Florida State's Attorney's Office.  Technical assistance was provided by EPA and Jacksonville sheriff office and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

  

CALIFORNIA DAIRY FARMER ADMITS CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION

August, 1999 - California - Anthony Vierra of Hilmar, Calif., owner and operator of the Anthony Vierra Dairy in Hilmar, pleaded guilty on Aug. 27, in U.S. District Court in Fresno to violating the Clean Water Act. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Vierra will pay a $100,000 fine and reimburse costs incurred by the investigating agencies. The charges arose from a discharge of manure contaminated dairy waste water from crop fields at the defendant's dairy farm into the Hilmar drain which leads into the San Joaquin River. Animal manure contains E.coli and can contain pathogens which can cause a variety of infections in humans and can be harmful to fish and wildlife. The case originated with the North Central Valley Dairy Waste Enforcement Task Force and was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the California Department of Fish and Game. This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

MARYLAND CASE LEADS TO FINES AND WETLANDS RESTORATION

August 26, 1999, Maryland - In a combined civil and criminal case, Interstate General Co., L.P. (IGC), agreed on Aug. 26, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to pay a total of $1.86 million for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and also agreed to join with St. Charles Associates (St. Charles) to protect and/or remediate 155 acres of wetlands in and around Dorchester. Both companies were involved in the development of the Dorchester Neighborhood in St. Charles County, Md. IGC pleaded guilty to one count of violating the CWA for illegally filling wetlands on either side of a stream that flows into the Port Tobacco River, which is a tributary of the Potomac River. The plea agreement calls for IGC to pay a $1.5 million fine. In a parallel civil case, IGC will pay an additional $360,000 in civil penalties. Wetlands preservation is vital to the maintenance of a healthy environment because they purify surface waters and provide a breeding area for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife. In February 1996, IGC, St. Charles, and IGC's President James J. Wilson, were convicted of four felony counts of illegally filling wetlands in violation of the CWA. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions and remanded the case for re-trial. Upon sentencing, in accordance with the plea, the indictments against St. Charles and Wilson will be dismissed. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and EPA Region 3, the FBI, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and prosecution is by the U.S. Department of Justice.

TWO MICHIGAN MEN CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL WASTE DISPOSAL

March 25, 1999, Michigan - James W. Morgan of St. Clair Shores, Mich., former owner of Morgan
Artcraft Screen Print Inc., and William M. Jones of Highland Park, Mich., were indicted on March 25 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit on charges of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The defendants allegedly unlawfully transported and disposed of a trailer containing hazardous waste inks at an abandoned warehouse in Detroit. Some of the abandoned inks were flammable and others contained lead. Exposure to sufficient quantities of lead can cause neurological disorders in people. The EPA Superfund program paid $30,000 to dispose of the abandoned inks. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

MISSOURI MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL HAZARDOUS WASTE STORAGE

March 25, 1999, Missouri - Billy L. Stevens was sentenced to one year and one day in prison on March 25 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The defendant was co-owner and president of RS Services Inc., which operates in Kansas City as Mizzou Painting and Special Coatings.   From approximately April 1996 until 1998, the defendant stored petroleum based wastes, chlorinated compounds, and spent solvents at the Mizzou facility without a permit. Human exposure to sufficient amounts of these substances can produce a variety of illnesses including respiratory ailments and eye irritation. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and National Enforcement Investigations Center, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

TWO LOUISIANA MEN SENTENCED FOR PESTICIDE CRIMES

March 24, 1999, Louisianna - Emmanuel Johnson of Independence, La., was sentenced on March 24 by  the U.S. District Court in New Orleans to serve two years in prison and was ordered by the Court to pay a total of $131,104 in restitution for the unlawful distribution of the restricted use pesticide methyl parathion. On March 17, the U.S. District Court also sentenced Oscar Miller, also of Independence, to serve five months in a halfway house, eight months home confinement and pay $61,500 in restitution for the unlawful sale and distribution of methyl parathion. According to information presented to the Court, each defendant illegally sold methyl parathion to individuals who were not trained or certified to use the pesticide. Furthermore, the defendants sold methyl parathion for the unlawful purpose of eradicating household insects. Methyl parathion may only legally be used as an outdoor insecticide in uninhabited agricultural fields where sunlight dramatically reduces its toxicity. When used indoors, methyl parathion can remain highly toxic for up to two years, and exposure to sufficient quantities of the pesticide can produce nausea, vomiting, convulsions and death. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and was
prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

UTAH PLAN MANAGER RECEIVES JAIL TERM FOR CWA VIOLATION

March 26, 1999 - Charles McNamee, the facilities manager at Syro Incorporated's steel mill in Centerville, Utah, pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and was sentenced on March 12 in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City to three months imprisonment and a $2,500 fine. In November and December 1993, McNamee ordered Syro employees to discharge waste water from production tanks into a floor drain that led to the South Davis Sewer Improvement District sewer treatment works. The wastes contained acids and high concentrations of zinc, a toxic pollutant.  Both of these substances can interfere with the proper treatment of sewage and are harmful to fish and other aquatic life. Because of these illegal discharges, the South Davis treatment works incurred additional expenses to dispose of zinc contaminated bio solids. The company previously pleaded guilty to two violations of the CWA and was ordered to pay a fine of $750,000. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Utah Attorney General's Office Environmental Crimes Unit and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

MISSOURI COMPANY AND PRESIDENT PLEAD GUILTY

Missouri, March 26, 1999 - Martin J. Klipsch, president and owner of MJK Distribution of St. Louis, Mo., and his company pleaded guilty on March 19 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis to violating the Clean Water Act by discharging acids and caustics into the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District. The discharge of acidic and caustic materials into public sewage treatment facilities can cause injuries to treatment plant workers, can damage the plant, and can kill the bacteria which are necessary for the processing of raw sewage. When sentenced, Klipsch faces a maximum of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. MJK faces a maximum fine of up to $200,000 per day of violation. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Saybolt, Inc. and David Mead of Texas Sentenced for Bribery

Texas, March 1, 1999: David H. Mead of The Woodlands, Texas, was sentenced on March 1, to  serve four months in prison, four months home confinement and pay a $20,000 fine by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Trenton. Mead is the former President and Chief Executive Officer for Western Hemisphere Operations of Saybolt Inc., which operates a laboratory testing facility for petroleum products in New Jersey.  Mead directed an employee to go to Panama to pay a $50,000 bribe to Panamanian government officials to acquire tax benefits and a lease on a prime business location along the Panama Canal. The allegations of bribery were discovered during an investigation of false data reporting at Saybolt's Wolburn, Mass., laboratory. Saybolt has already paid $4.9 million dollars in fines for its convictions on charges of providing false data to EPA and Saybolt customers, and for bribery of Panamanian Officials. The case was investigated by EPA's criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

COLONIAL PIPELINE FINED $7 MILLION FOR SOUTH CAROLINA OIL SPILL

Georgia, February 25, 1999 -Colonial Pipeline Co. (CPC), of Atlanta, Ga., pleaded guilty on Feb.  25, in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in Anderson and was ordered to pay a $7 million fine for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). The charges arose from an incident on June 26, 1996, when CPC's pipeline ruptured at a point where it crosses the   Reedy River near Simpsonville, S.C. In pleading guilty to the charge, CPC acknowledged that it had negligently operated its pipeline, and that its failure to exercise reasonable care resulted in the release of approximately 960,000 gallons of diesel fuel which polluted a 23-mile segment of the Reedy River. The spill killed approximately 35,000 fish and also harmed other wildlife. The spill was the sixth
largest in the history of the United States. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a five-year probation term, during which the company will have to develop and implement an environmental compliance program to prevent and detect any further violations of the CWA on a 5,318 mile pipeline that it operates from Houston Texas, to Linden, N.J.  The court also required the company to make presentations to national  pipeline associations regarding the obligations that similar pipelines have under the CWA. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, and was prosecuted jointly by the United States Attorneys Office for the District of South Carolina and Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section in Washington.

TWO CONVICTED FOR ILLEGALLY INJECTING WASTE INTO OIL WELLS

Montana, February 24, 1999 - Balko Inc., of Conrad, Mont., and John J. Balkenbush, company
president, were convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana in Helena on Feb. 24, for violating the Underground Injection Control (UIC) regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Balkenbush and Balko provided field and operations services for oil production companies throughout Montana. The defendants disposed of wastewater and other waste fluids from oil and gas production into three abandoned oil wells in Pondera County, Mont. These wells did not have UIC permits allowing them to be used as disposal sites. This practice occurred periodically over several years, despite the availability of wells with UIC disposal permits which could have been used for this activity. When sentenced, the company could be fined up to $500,000. Balkenbush faces a maximum sentence of up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division.

ILLINOIS MAN PLEADS TO ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

Illinois, February 19, 1999: Wade J. Bertelsen of Milan, Ill., pleaded guilty on Feb. 10, in U.S.   District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Rock Island, Ill., to violating the Clean Air Act by failing to follow required procedures for the removal of asbestos-containing material. Bertelsen admitted that he and workers he supervised willfully failed to adequately wet asbestos-containing material which was being removed
from the Old LeClair Hotel in Galva, Ill. Regulations require that asbestos containing material must be wetted before it is removed so that dust containing asbestos fibers will not become airborne.  Inhaling asbestos fibers is a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. When sentenced, Bertelsen faces a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine or both. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division; the Illinois Attorney General's Office; the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; the Illinois State Police; the
Moline, Illinois Police Department; the Milan, Illinois Police Department; the Marion, Iowa Police Department; the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

BROOKLYN MAN AND COMPANY PLEAD TO ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

New York, February 19, 1999 - Salvatore Napalitano and his company, ECCO Construction Inc., both of
Brooklyn, N.Y., pleaded guilty on Feb. 12, in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven to violating the Clean Air Act. Documents submitted at the time of the plea agreement indicated that Napalitano and ECCO conspired with others to illegally use unskilled workers to avoid the cost of proper asbestos abatement at a former YMCA building in New Haven in 1997. When sentenced, Napalitano faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. ECCO faces a maximum fine of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

FOUR WASHINGTON STATE MANAGERS INDICTED FOR ASBESTOS REMOVAL OFFENSES

Washington, February 19, 1999 - Charles Michael McBeth of Tacoma, Wash.; Thomas Pearson of Olympia, Wash.; Van Mobley of Mount Vernon, Wash.; and Gregory Bischel of Marysville, Wash.; were indicted on Feb. 4, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act. McBeth was vice-president and the other three men were supervisors at Environmental Maintenance Services Corp. (EMSC), a dissolved corporation formerly located in Tukwila, Wash. The charges arose from the defendants' alleged role in the improper removal of asbestos while EMSC was a subcontractor doing asbestos abatement and demolition work on boilers at the central heating plant at the U.S. Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island, Wash. The indictment alleges that during the demolition of a boiler, from June 24 to July 24, 1996, asbestos was removed without first being properly wetted to suppress asbestos dust. Inhalation of asbestos dust by workers can lead to lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. If convicted, all four men face a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. This case is being investigated jointly by the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

TWO IN MISSISSIPPI SENTENCED FOR DUMPING HAZARDOUS WASTE

Mississippi, February 12, 1999 - Insulation Foam and Roofing Inc., (IFR) of Jackson, Miss., and a former employee, David Aultman who is also from Jackson, were sentenced on Feb. 5, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in Hattiesburg for illegally transporting and disposing of hazardous wastes in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. IFR and Aultman were ordered to pay $29,914 in
restitution for cleanup costs and Aultman was also sentenced to six months confinement. IFR and Aultman were convicted of transporting drums of hazardous waste without a permit and illegally dumping them on property owned by Aultman in Jefferson Davis County between September 1994 and September 1995. Hazardous substances contained in the drums included xylene and methyl ethyl ketone. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Department of Transportation Inspector General's Office, the
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

TEXAS CHEMICAL COMPANY INDICTED AFTER PESTICIDE SALES ALLEGEDLY INJURED CHILDREN

Texas, February 2, 1999 - The NCH Corp. of Irving, Texas, was indicted on Feb. 2, in U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota in Sioux Falls on charges of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and
Rodenticide Act. NCH allegedly sold the pesticides to Headstart schools in South Dakota and falsely claimed that the products could be used for purposes that substantially differed from those registered with EPA. In March 1997, a U.S. Indian Health Service survey at the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Headstart Centers discovered that two pesticides, Tisan and DDS-164, were being used to sanitize children's toothbrushes. Neither of these pesticides is authorized for this use. The pesticides sold by NCH allegedly caused sores to develop in the
mouths of American Indian children when they used the pesticides to rinse their toothbrushes. These pesticides are registered for use as kitchen disinfectants and items treated with them must be allowed to dry before they are used. If either of these pesticides as a liquid is placed in the mouth, sores and other illnesses could result. The corporation faces a maximum potential fine of up to $600,000. EPA's Criminal Investigation Division investigated this case, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney in South Dakota.

SAYBOLT FINED $3.4 MILLION FOR FALSIFIED REPORTS

NJ & Connecticut, January 20,1999 - Saybolt Inc., a leading firm in the petroleum inspection industry which has laboratory facilities in Woburn, Mass., Kenilworth, N.J., and New Haven, Conn., pleaded guilty on Jan. 7, to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act and was fined $3.4 million by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston. Saybolt was also sentenced to serve five years probation and must purchase advertising in petroleum industry trade publications announcing the terms of its guilty plea. In its plea, Saybolt admitted to conspiracy and to sending the EPA falsified reports of laboratory tests performed on petroleum products. The falsified reports routinely overstated the oxygen content of reformulated gasoline (RFG) and also routinely reported that tests of other petroleum products, such as home heating oil, were "on-specification," regardless of whether the products met specifications or not. RFG is required to contain more oxygen than other blends of gasoline in order to reduce smog, which is known to cause respiratory illnesses in people. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the EPA National Enforcement Investigations Center, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

LOUISIANA COMPANY SENTENCED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

Louisianna, January 20, 1999 - Intracoastal Liquid Mud Inc. (ILM), was sentenced on Jan. 6, to pay a fine of $240,000 and was ordered to implement an environmental compliance program by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Lafayette. ILM previously pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act by discharging waste into the Vermillion River without a permit. ILM is in the business of selling drilling muds used in oil exploration and provides barge and offshore supply boat cleaning services. In its previous plea agreement, ILM admitted that between 1992 and January 1998, its employees illegally discharged hundreds of thousands of gallons of waste wash water into the river. The wash water contained contaminants such as oil-based drilling mud, calcium chloride, barite and cement, all of which can be harmful to aquatic life. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

WEST VIRGINIA MINE OPERATOR SENTENCED

West Virginia, January 11, 1999 - Wayne H. Fortney, Jr., of Morgantown, W.Va., a principal owner and
president of Valley Mining Co. Inc., was sentenced to six months of confinement and was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine on Dec. 17, 1998 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in Clarksburg. The defendant previously pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Fortney violated the conditions of his CWA discharge permit by allowing acid mine drainage to be discharged into Maple Run in Monongalia County, W. Va., between Oct. 8, 1991 and Sept. 25, 1992. He also violated his permit by discharging acidic water from a collecting pond at the Valley Mining Project site on March 23, 1992. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

FLORIDA RECYCLING COMPANY INDICTED AGAIN FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

Florida, January 11, 1999 - Gary Benkovitz, President of Bay Drum and Steel Inc., in Tampa, Fla.,  and his company were indicted Jan. 7, in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Both defendants were indicted on this new charge while awaiting sentencing for their previous conviction on Sept. 17, 1998, on charges of conspiring to violate the CWA and the Resource  Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Benkovitz and his company are in the business of acquiring, cleaning, reconditioning and re-selling 55-gallon drums. This latest indictment alleges that the defendants knowingly discharged hazardous wastewater by directing employees to pour drum wash water into a storm sewer that leads into McKay Bay. In addition, the defendants were also indicted on Sept. 24, 1998 for allegedly improperly disposing of as much as 160,000 gallons of drum washing waste water in violation of RCRA. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department with the assistance of the EPA National Enforcement Investigations Center, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

GEORGIA FUNERAL HOME VIOLATES CLEAN WATER ACT

Georgia, January 7, 1999 - W.L. Wilson and Sons Inc., which operates the Wilson Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., pleaded guilty on Jan. 7, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta to violating the Clean Water Act. The defendant admitted to discharging wastewater which contained formaldehyde, embalming and body fluids, and human waste into the funeral home's septic tank drain lines. The wastewater flowed from the lines through cracks in an embankment into a drainage ditch and a culvert that empty into Black Branch Creek which is a tributary of the Chicamauga Creek, and ultimately into the Tennessee
River. Formaldehyde and human wastes are potential causes of a variety of diseases in humans and can also be harmful to aquatic life. When sentenced, the defendant faces a maximum fine of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

OREGON MAN SENTENCED FOR EXPOSING HOMELESS TO ASBESTOS

Washington, December 18, 1998 - Timothy Dean Tomlinson, co-owner of WR Engineering & Environmental (WREE), was sentenced on Dec. 14, to 10 months confinement by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle for violating the Clean Air Act. Tomlinson was convicted of illegally
employing homeless men who were not trained or certified in asbestos removal to remove over 14,000 square feet of asbestos from a building in Seattle in May 1997. The men also were not provided with proper safety equipment. As a result, the homeless laborers were exposed to high levels of airborne asbestos. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause a lung disease knows as "asbestosis," lung cancer, and mesothelioma
which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. WREE quoted a price of $31,000 for the asbestos removal work. However, the cleanup eventually cost property owners over $350,000 because the site was
contaminated due to improper asbestos removal. The case was jointly investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's Region 10 Air Program, the Washington State Department of Ecology and the
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

LOUISIANA MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL CHEMICAL DISPOSAL

Louisianna, December 18, 1998 - James Lee Miller, of Bogalusa, La., was sentenced on Dec. 16, to serve
27 months in prison by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis for violating the Clean Water Act.  Miller had previously been convicted of illegally discharging between 700 and 1,000 gallons of styrene monomer into a drainage ditch south of St. Louis in March. The chemical, which was illegally released
from a semi-trailer truck driven by the defendant, flowed from the drainage ditch into Fourch A Du Clos Creek, and Establishment Creek, a tributary of the Mississippi River. The discharge caused the evacuation of more than 100 people from their homes and temporary closure of the Bloomsdale Elementary School, and killed approximately 10,000 fish in both creeks. Depending upon the degree of exposure, people who breathe styrene monomer vapors can develop symptoms that range from irritation of the eyes and lining of the respiratory system to significant respiratory and neurological illnesses. Human ingestion of styrene monomer can produce cancer, liver disease and blood disorders. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff's Department and the
Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

MISSOURI RAILROAD SUPERVISOR CHARGED WITH LEAD POLLUTION

Missouri, December 18, 1998 - Dillon L. Magers was charged with one count of conspiracy, six counts of violating the Clean Water Act, and two counts of making false statements by a grand jury on Dec. 11, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis. Magers, the Midwest Supervisor of Environmental Operations for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), allegedly conspired to withhold pertinent information from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) concerning his sampling and analyses for lead contamination on soils at the BNSF railroad car cleaning facility which is located one mile north of Cherryville, Mo. Railroad cars carrying lead ore were cleaned of lead sulfide residue at the facility. The defendant also is charged with channeling storm runoff water contaminated with lead from the cleaning facility into Cherry Valley Creek. If convicted on all counts, Magers faces a maximum sentence of up to 36 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $2 million. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, MDNR and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

This page was updated on 30-Mar-2016


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