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Polluters (and Other Violators) of the Week 2000
(More like bi-weekly, actually)

*True cases of environmental criminals and other violators of environmental laws, regulations and statutes from real court cases

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bullet2009 polluter cases
bullet2008 polluter cases
bullet2007 polluter cases
bullet2006 polluter cases
bullet

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bullet2010 polluter cases
bullet2009 polluter cases bullet2001 - The EPA didn't save them!
bullet 2000 polluter cases  (or just scroll down the page)
bullet 1999 polluter cases 
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?

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Pollution Cases in 2000

TEXAS COMPANY OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO DUMPING SEWAGE

APRIL 20, 2000 - Gary Lynn Wallace of New Caney, Texas pleaded guilty on April 14 to violating the Clean Water Act. Wallace owns E. Henderson Grease and Septic Tank Cleaning Service in New Caney. Wallace directed his employees to dump sewage and other septic waste into the San Jacinto and Trinity Rivers. The San Jacinto River flows into Lake Houston, the major source of drinking water in Houston. The sewage contains E. coli and other bacteria and pathogens which can cause a variety of infections when ingested. When sentenced, Wallace faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine 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. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston.

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MARYLAND BUSINESSMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN CHLORINE CASE

APRIL 20, 2000 - Richard Fletcher, owner of a now-defunct company, CCR Steel Doors Inc., in Laurel, Md., pleaded guilty on April 13 to violating the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund) by failing to report the abandonment of cylinders containing approximately 200 pounds of chlorine gas. In his plea, the defendant admitted that on June 11, 1998 he removed nine steel cylinders containing chlorine gas from a warehouse from which his business had been evicted, and dumped them next door in the parking lot of the Laurel Commerce Center. Chlorine is a highly toxic gas which can cause severe burns to the skin and eyes, plus severe damage to the lungs if inhaled. When sentenced, Fletcher faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and the District of Columbia Environmental Crimes Unit. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greenbelt, Md.

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MASSACHUSETTS MAN CHARGED WITH FALSIFYING WATER TESTS

APRIL 20, 2000 - William J. McCarthy of Lawrence, Mass. pleaded guilty on April 13 to 18 counts of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. During the 1990's, McCarthy was the senior chemist at Lawrence's drinking water filtration plant, where he supervised water quality testing. In his plea, the defendant admitted that he repeatedly fabricated drinking water quality results that he was required to perform. The Lawrence filtration plant draws water from the Merrimack River and distributes it to more than 60,000 residents. The criminal investigation of McCarthy led to a comprehensive evaluation of the safety of the Lawrence drinking water system by state and federal regulators. That evaluation led to two administrative orders by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection which required the city of Lawrence to upgrade its drinking water facilities and hire an outside consultant to oversee the operation of the plant. If convicted, McCarthy faces up to five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fh count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston. 

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THREE PERSONS GUILTY IN KANSAS ASBESTOS CASE

APRIL 20, 2000 - Edward A. Shaw of Largo, Fla.. was convicted by a jury on April 12 for making false statements to EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment concerning an asbestos removal project. Shaw owns ESCM Inc., an environmental consulting firm. Carl and Jean Stiffler of Enid, Okla., owners of Southwest Wrecking Co., also in Enid, pleaded guilty on March 27 to violating the Clean Air Act by illegally removing and disposing of asbestos. >From late 1993 until 1997, Shaw and the Stifflers were engaged in the removal of asbestos-containing material during the demolition of the Shallow Water Refinery near Scott City, Kan. The removal involved a number of illegal activities, including failure to properly wet and dispose of the asbestos-containing materials, and failure to provide workers with protective clothing. Improper removal of asbestos can causof Lawrence, Mass. pleaded guilty on April 13 to 18 counts of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. During the 1990's, McCarthy was the senior chemist at Lawrence's drinking water filtration plant, where he supervised water quality testing. In his plea, the defendant admitted that he repeatedly fabricated drinking water quality results that he was required to perform. The Lawrence filtration plant draws water from the Merrimack River and distributes it to more than 60,000 residents. The criminal investigation of McCarthy led to a comprehensive evaluation of the safety of the Lawrence drinking water system by state and federal regulators. That evaluation led to two administrative orders by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection which required the city of Lawrence to upgrade its drinking water facilities and hire an outside consultant to oversee the operation of the plant. If convicted, McCarthy faces up to five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fh count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston. 

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THREE PERSONS GUILTY IN KANSAS ASBESTOS CASE

APRIL 20, 2000 - Edward A. Shaw of Largo, Fla.. was convicted by a jury on April 12 for making false statements to EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment concerning an asbestos removal project. Shaw owns ESCM Inc., an environmental consulting firm. Carl and Jean Stiffler of Enid, Okla., owners of Southwest Wrecking Co., also in Enid, pleaded guilty on March 27 to violating the Clean Air Act by illegally removing and disposing of asbestos. >From late 1993 until 1997, Shaw and the Stifflers were engaged in the removal of asbestos-containing material during the demolition of the Shallow Water Refinery near Scott City, Kan. The removal involved a number of illegal activities, including failure to properly wet and dispose of the asbestos-containing materials, and failure to provide workers with protective clothing. Improper removal of asbestos can cause asbestos fibers to become airborne; inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. When sentenced, Shaw and the Stifflers each face up to five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA Region 7 and EPA's National Enforcement Investigation Center and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas in Wichita.

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KANSAS COMPANY AND TWO INDIVIDUALS RECEIVE HEAVY SENTENCES IN WASTEWATER CASE

APRIL 20, 2000 - On April 11, Allied Environmental Services Inc. (Allied) and its president Koteswara Attaluri both located in Overland Park, Kan.; and Overholt Trucking and its owner Mac DeWayne Overholt both located in Terlton, Okla., were sentenced for conspiring to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act and for fraud. In addition, Overholt was also sentenced for violating the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Over a 15-month period during 1994 and 1995, Allied removed more than 500,000 gallons of wastewater containing diesel fuel and kerosene from military facilities in Kansas and Missouri. The wastewater was collected from underground fuel storage tanks that were in the process of being removed. Some of the wastewater was transported to Oklahoma and illegally stored or injected into oil wells in three counties. Attaluri was sentenced to nearly five years in prison and Overholt was sentenced to serve more than seven years. In addition, all three defendants were ordered to pay $1.27 million in cleanup costs. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, the Department of Defense Criminal Investigations Service and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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TWO FLORIDA MEN CONVICTED IN HAZARDOUS WASTE CASE

APRIL 20, 2000 - Ralph G. Dearden of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and German Delgado of Hialeah, Fla., were convicted by a jury of conspiracy to violate the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) on April 11. In addition, the jury found Dearden guilty of two counts of illegally disposing of hazardous waste. A third co-defendant, Brian Schneider, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. According to the indictment and evidence presented at the trial, Dearden owned and operated D&B Paint Manufacturing Co., in Fort Lauderdale. From the 1970's until 1995, when D&B stopped operations, it generated a variety of hazardous wastes during manufacturing. These included mercury, benzene, lead, methyl ethyl ketone, trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. Benzene is a known cause of cancer and exposure to sufficient quantities of lead and mercury can cause neurological disorders. All three defendants conspired to dispose of 40 55-gallon drums of these and other wastes so that Dearden could save money on cleaning up his warehouse and rent it to Schneider. The wastes were dumped near the Everglades National Park. Each defendant faces up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $250,000 on each count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management's Environmental Crime Unit and the Florida Marine Patrol. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.

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MICHIGAN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL HAZARDOUS WASTE TRANSPORTATION

APRIL 7, 2000 - Luke Masenick of Raleigh, N.C., pleaded guilty on March 31 to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by transporting paint and solvent wastes from a painting company to four sites in Macomb County, Mich., one of which was near an elementary school. The materials were ignitable and also contained xylene, ethyl benzene, toluene and lead. Benzene is a known carcinogen and exposure to sufficient quantities of lead can lead to disorders of the bones and nervous system. Under his plea agreement with the government Masenick faces up to fifteen months in prison. A second defendant in this case, Matthew David Smith, is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence, and a third defendant, Gregory Kopke, is scheduled to go to trial on RCRA and conspiracy charges on April 25. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, Mich.

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TWO HOUSTON BUSINESSMEN INDICTED ON ASBESTOS CHARGES

APRIL 6, 2000 - Eric Kung-Shou Ho and Manuel Robles Escobedo, both of Houston, Texas, were indicted on March 30 for multiple violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and other federal statutes. All charges relate to the renovation of the Alief General Hospital in Houston. Ho was charged with seven violations, including conspiring with Escobedo to violate the CAA, failing to notify the government of asbestos releases and making a false statement to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Escobedo was charged with five violations including conspiracy, failing to implement required asbestos workplace standards and making false statements to OSHA during an administrative proceeding. Improper removal of asbestos can cause the airborne release of asbestos fibers which, if inhaled in sufficient quantities, can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. If convicted, each of the charges against Ho carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and/or maximum prison term of 2-15 years. Escobedo faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and/or a maximum prison sentence of 5 years on each charge, if convicted. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston, Texas.

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NORTH CAROLINA COMPANY PRESIDENT SENTENCED IN ASBESTOS CASE

APRIL 6, 2000 - Jorge Mora, president of AmBien Temps Inc., in High Point, N.C., was sentenced on March 28 to serve 15 months in prison, pay a $25,000 fine and serve a year's probation. The defendant was previously convicted of submitting applications with false names, social security numbers and immigration registration numbers, in order to fraudulently gain asbestos removal licenses for workers at his company. Most of the untrained workers were illegal immigrants. The court also ordered Mora to report to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for possible deportation to his native Columbia after the completion of his sentence. Removal of asbestos without proper training can lead to the inhalation of asbestos fibers which can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greensboro, N.C.

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TEXAS TANNERY FINED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

MARCH 30, 2000 - On March 22, a consent decree was filed with S.B. Foot Tanning Co., a tannery located in Cactus, Texas, for violations of the Clean Water Act. S.B. Foot, a subsidiary of Red Wing Boot Co., discharged wastewater into the city wastewater treatment facility that exceeded its pH (a measure of acidity or alkalinity) and chromium limits and did not submit required reports. Discharges in violation of pH limits can harm aquatic life. Excess levels of chromium can lead to groundwater and surface water contamination. S.B. Foot will pay $510,439.60 to the United States and expend $926,500 to perform two Supplemental Environmental Projects to benefit the environment. The first project will reduce the chromium discharged from its Cactus facility to a more stringent level than the current standards. The second project will reduce sodium in S.B. Foot's discharges. The settlement was filed in U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas. 

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NEW JERSEY PAINT MANUFACTURER AND COMPANY PLEAD GUILTY TO HAZARDOUS WASTE CRIMES

MARCH 30, 2000 - William Moskowitz of Lakewood, N.J., president of Sav-Cote Chemical Laboratories Inc., and Sav-Cote were sentenced on March 21, in U.S. District Court in Trenton. Moscowitz and Sav-Cote previously pleaded guilty to seven counts of illegally storing and disposing of hazardous wastes in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Moscowitz was ordered to pay a $60,000 fine, pay EPA $607,514 in cleanup costs, and serve six months home confinement and five years probation. Sav-Cote was fined $2,000 and ordered to serve five years probation. In a previous guilty plea, Moskowitz and Sav-Cote admitted that beginning in the late 1980s they illegally stored hazardous paint solvents including xylene, toluene and methyl ethyl ketone without a permit in eight underground storage tanks, two of which were leaking. In 1998, EPA began a Superfund cleanup at Sav-Cote's Lakewood facility after an EPA Criminal Investigation uncovered the illegal storage. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, and the FBI with the assistance of the EPA Region 2 Laboratory in Edison, N.J. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Trenton, New Jersey. 

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VIRGINIA MAN AND COMPANY SENTENCED FOR SELLING FALSE ASBESTOS TRAINING CERTIFICATES

MARCH 30, 2000 - On March 23, Omar Gonzalez and his company Industrial Training Support Services (ITSS), both of Richmond Va., were sentenced on for violating the Clean Air Act. Between January 1994 and August 1996 the defendants falsified training certificates required to certify individuals to remove asbestos. Some of the individuals who received false certificates were undocumented aliens who were issued certificates under false names. Gonzalez also pleaded guilty to evading federal income taxes. The court ordered Gonzalez to serve 27 months in prison, pay a $90,995 fine, pay $68,089 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and serve two years probation. ITSS was ordered to jointly pay the $90,995 fine with Gonzalez and was placed on one year probation. 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. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond.

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INDIANA MAN CHARGED WITH DUMPING GASOLINE INTO SEWER

March 24, 2000 - Daniel W. Axe of Dugger, Ind., was indicted March 15 on charges that he violated the Clean Water Act by pumping gasoline into a city sewer. Axe purchased the Swan Service Station in 1999, but the underground storage tanks had not been emptied when the station was closed by previous owners. In September 1999, Axe notified the state of Indiana that he intended to permanently close the tanks; however, he allegedly pumped the gasoline into a sewer drain when he closed the tanks. This alleged illegal disposal created an explosion hazard and released toxic gases, vapors and fumes. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana in Dugger.

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MASSACHUSETTS DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH FALSIFYING DRINKING WATER TESTS

March 24, 2000 - William J. McCarthy of Lawrence, Mass. was charged on March 17 with 18 counts of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. During the 1990's, McCarthy was the Senior Chemist at Lawrence's drinking water filtration plant where he supervised water quality testing. The charges allege that he repeatedly fabricated required drinking water quality test results. The Lawrence filtration plant draws water from the Merrimack River and distributes it to more than 60,000 residents. If convicted, McCarthy faces up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 on each count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts in Lawrence. 

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FORMER DENVER BUSINESS OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO CFC SMUGGLING

March 24, 2000 - of Denver, Colo. pleaded guilty March 15 to violating CFC smuggling provisions of the Clean Air Act. McManus, who formerly operated an air conditioning business in Denver, admitted that he imported over one ton of R-12 refrigerant into the United States. R-12 is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas whose importation into the United States is highly restricted. When released into the atmosphere, R-12 depletes the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects people from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation such as skin cancer and cataracts. When sentenced, McManus faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Customs Service, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

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OKLAHOMA CITY CORPORATION AND INDIVIDUALS INDICTED

March 16, 2000 - An Oklahoma City, Amtech Corp., a manufacturer of oil field chemicals, and its co-owners were indicted on March 8 in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, Okla., for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Water Act. The two co-owners Stephen Lane Adkins, President, and Joel Edwin Mayhan, Vice-President, along with Virginia Malson, owner of M&M Drum Co. were all indicted. The indictment alleges that waste chemicals from the manufacturing process, including solvents, were illegally stored, transported and disposed of between 1993 and 1997. The indictment states that drums of hazardous waste were delivered to M&M Drum Co. by Amtech Corp. where the contents of the drums were poured into the Oklahoma City sewer system. The drums of the hazardous waste were also dumped in a field in Asher, Okla., and were stored and buried in Osage County, Okla. Exposure to sufficient quantities of solvents can cause a variety of diseases of the internal organs. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma.

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KOCH PETROLEUM GROUP SENTENCED FOR MINNESOTA POLLUTION

March 14, 2000 - , which operates a refinery in Rosemount, Minn., was sentenced on March 1 to pay a $6 million criminal fine and pay an additional $2 million in remediation costs to the Dakota County Park System in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. This is the largest federal environmental fine ever paid in Minnesota. The defendant was also ordered to serve three years probation. Koch previously pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Koch admitted that it negligently discharged aviation fuel into a wetland and an adjoining waterway. Even though Koch was aware of the problem, it did not develop a comprehensive plan to recover between 200,000 - 600,000 gallons of released fuel until June 1997. In addition, the establishment of the system to recover the fuel destroyed a portion of the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife habitat. In a separate offense, Koch dumped a million gallons of wastewater with high ammonia content on the ground between November 1996 and March 1997 and also increased its flow of wastewater into the Mississippi River on weekends when Koch did not monitor its discharges. These actions allowed Koch to circumvent the weekly monitoring and reporting requirements of its wastewater discharge permit. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and was prosecuted by the U. S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota.

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WASHINGTON ASBESTOS REMOVAL SUPERVISOR SENTENCED TO PRISON

March 6, 2000 - Thomas Pearson, a former supervisor at a renovation and demolition project at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Whidbey Island, Washington was sentenced to serve 10 months in federal prison, two months home detention and three years probation on March 6 in U.S. District Court in Seattle. In June and July 1996, the defendant violated the Clean Air Act when he directed workers to remove asbestos-containing material from pipes, tanks and boilers at the Air Station's central heating plant without first wetting the asbestos to prevent the airborne release of asbestos fibers. Approximately 700 bags of dry asbestos-containing material were found at the project site. Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis" and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The investigation was conducted by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.

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CALIFORNIA DAIRYMAN INDICTED FOR WATER POLLUTION

February 24, 2000 - Joe Avis, owner and operator of the Joe Avis Dairy in Elk Grove, Calif., was indicted on Feb. 24 for illegally discharging wastewater in violation of the Clean Water Act. The indictment alleges that the defendant discharged animal waste containing urine, feces and wash water that flowed from the dairy into a drain that leads to Stone Lake and the Sacramento River. The discharges occurred on five occasions from January 1995 through February 1999. Dairy waste in surface waters can cause intestinal and other infections in people and can also be harmful to aquatic organisms and wildlife. Avis faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine. This investigation was conducted by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the state of California Regional Water Quality Control Board. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Fresno.

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FORMER COLORADO AIR CONDITIONING BUSINESSMAN CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING CFCs

February 24, 2000 - Kenneth L. McManus of Denver, Colo., was charged on Feb. 24 with violating the Clean Air Act. McManus formerly operated an air conditioning business in Denver and allegedly imported eighty 30-pound cylinders of R-12 refrigerant into the United States without meeting importation requirements. The R-12 was manufactured in India and purchased in Saudi-Arabia. R-12 is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas and its importation into the United States is highly restricted. When released into the atmosphere, R-12 depletes the ozone layer which protects human from harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation such as sunburn, skin cancer and cataracts. If convicted McManus faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Customs Service. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston.

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DELAWARE COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION AT LOUISIANA FACILITY

February 23, 2000 - International-Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT), based in Delaware, pleaded guilty on Feb. 23 to violating the Clean Water Act. IMTT owns and operates a tank farm terminal that stores a variety of oils and other substances in St. Rose, La. The defendant admitted that between August 1996 and August 1998 it intentionally took stormwater discharge samples at places other than those required in its discharge permit. These samples did not adequately measure the discharge from the tank farm and these improper samples were then falsely submitted to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) as legitimate samples. The plea agreement calls for the defendant to pay a $400,000 fine, $400,000 in restitution, serve five years probation and develop annual training for its employees concerning applicable environmental laws. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Coast Guard Investigative Services, the Louisiana State Police and LDEQ. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney in New Orleans.

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MISSISSIPPI POULTRY EXECUTIVE INDICTED

February 23, 2000 - John R. McCarty, of Jackson, Miss., was indicted on 55 counts of negligently violating the Clean Water Act on Feb. 23. McCarty is a former corporate officer of Central Industries Inc., which operates a rendering plant in Forest, Miss. McCarty allegedly failed to correct problems at Central Industries that led to numerous discharges of improperly treated wastewater into Shockaloo Creek between May and July 1995. Each year the facility processes thousands of tons of entrails, blood, feathers and waste from six chicken slaughterhouses and as a result, large amounts of wastewater contain pollutants including ammonia, nitrogen, fecal coliform bacteria, oil, grease, suspended solids and rotting material. By allowing these wastes to be discharged into the Shockaloo Creek, a tributary of the Pearl River, McCarty allegedly exposed drinking water supplies to potential contaminants. Exposure to contaminated drinking water can cause intestinal and other infections in humans and is also harmful to aquatic organisms and wildlife. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. The case is being jointly prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jackson.

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ALASKA COMPANY AND GENERAL MANAGER INDICTED FOR WATER AND AIR VIOLATIONS

February 16, 2000 - Rick Rushing, general manager and a principal owner of Technic Services Inc. (TSI), of Anchorage, Ala., was indicted on Feb. 16 on charges of violating of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The company was also indicted on the same charges. The indictments are a result of TSI's work practices during an asbestos abatement project in 1996 at the Alaska Pulp Mill in Sitka, Ala. It is alleged that at Rushing's direction, TSI employees failed to follow proper procedures for removing asbestos containing materials including not properly wetting the asbestos to prevent the asbestos fiber from becoming airborne. In addition, Rushing allegedly instructed workers to tamper with air monitoring devices to ensure exposure readings for airborne asbestos were low. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis" and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. If convicted on all charges, Rushing faces up to 13 years in prison and/or a fine up to $300,000. TSI may face a maximum fine of $500,000 on each count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage.

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CALIFORNIA SEWER PLANT OPERATOR PLEADS GUILTY

February 15, 2000 - who was district manager in charge of operations at the Rodeo Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rodeo, Calif., pleaded guilty on Feb. 15 to violating the Clean Water Act. The defendant admitted that he instructed his staff to allow wastewater to bypass a chlorine contact chamber, that he failed to report an overflow of sewage into San Pablo Bay and that he ordered plant operators to tamper with a monitoring test. The release of partially treated or untreated wastewater into surface waters presents a risk of infections to people and can harm aquatic organisms and wildlife. The plea agreement calls for Guanill to serve a 10 month prison term and one year of supervised release. The court will determine any fine at the time of sentencing. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oakland.

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MISSOURI METAL FINISHING COMPANY SENTENCED IN WATER CASE

February 24, 2000 - Heartland Metal Finishing Inc., of Salem, Mo., was sentenced on Feb. 17, in U.S. District Court in St. Louis for violating the Clean Water Act. The defendant was ordered to pay a fine of $170,000, provide an additional $48,404 in restitution for disposal of sludge, develop an environmental compliance program and retain an independent environmental consultant to inspect and certify that Heartland's facilities are in compliance with federal and state environmental laws and regulations. An employee discharged plating wastewater containing zinc into the city sewers without company knowledge over an extended period that ended in November 1998. The discharge of plating wastes into city sewers can cause damage to equipment at sewage treatment facilities and can destroy bacteria which are necessary to properly treat the sewage. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis.

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NEBRASKA WASTEWATER TREATMENT MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY

February 24, 2000 - Jeffrey J. Frey, Nebraska Regional Manager for PeopleService Inc., pleaded guilty on Feb.16, in U.S. District Court in Omaha to violating the Clean Water Act and to making false statements to EPA and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). The charges against Frey state that between June 1995 and April 1997 he filed false discharge monitoring reports for sewage treatment systems that he managed for PeopleService. The charges further state that the filing of these false reports allowed the defendant to defraud PeopleService clients of $350,000. Frey faces a sentence of up to seven years in prison and/ or a fine up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, NDEQ, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Nebraska Attorney General's Office. It was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Nebraska in Omaha.

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FIRST D.C. CLEAN AIR ACT CONVICTION RESULTS FROM ASBESTOS CASE

February 24, 2000 - Ripudaman Gulati of Rockville, Md., pleaded guilty on Feb.10 to violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The conviction, the first in the District under the CAA, stemmed from the illegal removal and disposal of asbestos. Gulati, the owner of an apartment complex located in Southeast Washington, D.C., hired an employee to remove asbestos. Regulations require specific work practice standards for asbestos abatement projects to prevent asbestos fibers from being released into the air, standards that the defendant failed to follow. The asbestos was not adequately watered down, no decontamination sites were set up and no barriers or signs were posted to warn tenants of the hazardous substances that were being released. Also, the asbestos was not disposed of properly and 110 bags of asbestos from the site were found near Gallaudet University. Breathing airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as asbestosis, and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The defendant faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section.

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TWO PENNSYLVANIA MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO WATER VIOLATION

February 23, 2000 - Robert Schippers and Ronald Padula, both of Easton, Pa., pleaded guilty on Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, Pa., to multiple federal offenses. Schippers, who pleaded to 46 offenses, including violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), owned and operated Schippers Service Inc., a trucking company located in Easton which transported hazardous materials such as kerosene, diesel fuel, gasoline, aviation gas and fuel oil. Padua, who pleaded to 23 separate offenses, including multiple false statement charges and a violation of the CWA, was the head mechanic at Schippers Service and was licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to perform state-required safety inspections on automobiles and trucks. The defendants cleaned truck cargo tanks and then emptied the waste washwater into the sewer system owned by the city of Easton. The washwater 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 and these products can also harm sewage treatment facility equipment and destroy bacteria which are necessary for the proper treatment of sewage. The defendants also falsified vehicle inspection reports on numerous occasions. Schippers' plea agreement calls for a jail sentence of one to three years in prison and a fine to be determined at sentencing. Padula's sentence is yet to be determined. 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. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

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LOUISIANA JOHNSON PROPERTIES COMPANY PRESIDENT, TWO EMPLOYEES PLEAD GUILTY IN WATER CASE

FEBRUARY 10, 2000 - Three employees of Johnson Properties Inc., which manages wastewater treatment facilities in Central Louisiana, pleaded guilty on Feb. 4, in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, La. General Manager Glenn K. Johnson admitted to conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and to obstruction of justice for bribery and submitting false discharge monitoring reports. As part of his plea agreement, Johnson will spend three years in federal prison and will pay $500,000 in fines plus $250,000 restitution to homeowners who were serviced by wastewater treatment plants operated by Johnson Utilities. President Montell Watkins pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the CWA and faces up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Water Laboratory Director Carol Rowell admitted to negligently violating the CWA by submitting reports to regulators without checking their accuracy; she faces up to one year in prison and/or a fine of $100,000. From 1991-1998, Johnson and Watkins failed to properly maintain wastewater treatment facilities and diverted customers' fees for their own personal use. Failing to maintain wastewater treatment plants and improper wastewater treatment discharge monitoring can lead to the release of harmful levels of E. Coli bacteria and other microscopic organisms which can produce intestinal illness in humans and harm aquatic organisms and wildlife. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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ALASKA OIL EXPLORATION FIRM SENTENCED IN HAZARDOUS WASTE CASE

FEBRUARY 10, 2000 - British Petroleum Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BPXA), was sentenced in U.S. Federal Court in Anchorage, Alaska on Feb. 1, to pay $500,000 in criminal fines for failing to report illegal hazardous waste disposals in violation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. BPXA is a subsidiary of BP Amoco, p.l.c., which is the third largest oil company in the world. From 1993 to 1995, employees of Doyon Drilling, a contractor of BXPA, illegally discharged hazardous substances, including solvents, waste paint, paint thinner and waste oil containing lead and toxic chemicals such as benzene, toluene and methylene chloride by injecting them down the outer rim of oil wells. All of these chemical contaminants make groundwater resources undrinkable. BPXA failed to report these illegal injections as soon as it learned of its contractor's conduct as required by CERCLA. Also, BPXA was ordered to establish a nationwide environmental management system to prevent future violations after admitting that it failed to provide adequate oversight, audits and funding to ensure proper environmental management at its Alaska facilities. This management program will cost an additional $15 million to implement. A court-appointed environmental monitor will ensure compliance with the management plan during a five-year probation term. Doyon Drilling and three of its employees were previously convicted and sentenced. BPXA has also paid $6.5 million in civil penalties in a related case. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska.

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ALABAMA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION

FEBRUARY 10, 2000 - Joseph Magazzu of Mobile, Ala., pleaded guilty on Feb. 2, in U.S. District Court in Biloxi, Miss., to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Magazzu was the former environmental coordinator for Morton International's Moss Point, Miss., plant which produces synthetic rubber, sealants, adhesives, plasticizers and rocket polymers. The plant has a CWA permit to discharge treated industrial and sanitary waste water into the Escatawpa River. Magazzu admitted that in July 1995 he falsely reported the amount of fecal coliform bacteria in the wastewater, which was 31 times the amount allowed under the permit. High levels of fecal coliform bacteria in surface waters can cause a variety of infections in people who are exposed and can harm birds, aquatic life and wildlife who come into contact with the water. When sentenced, Magazzu faces up to two years in prison and or a fine up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.

 

HAWAIIAN ILLEGALLY ORDERED WORKER USE OF PESTICIDE

Kap Dong Kim, owner of a ginger root farm in Hilo, Hawaii, was sentenced to four months in prison and a $5,000 fine and was ordered to pay $6,113 in restitution on Jan. 24, in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. Kim previously pleaded guilty to illegally using the restricted use the pesticide nemacur on his ginger root crop in violation of the Federal Pesticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. Kim directed workers to apply it on the crop without following required standards for worker protection. One worker was poisoned and had to be hospitalized. Kim then deliberately failed to disclose the pesticide application when questioned by a government official. Civil charges against Kim are also pending. This 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 was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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SENTENCING FOR ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL IN ILLINOIS

Curry Environmental Services Inc. of Milan, Ill., CES's President, Teresa Lynn Cook, and two former CES employees, Darren Wright and Timothy Coutts, were each sentenced on Jan. 21, in U.S. District Court in Rock Island, Ill. for illegal asbestos removal. The defendants violated the Clean Air Act by failing to follow required procedures for the removal of material containing asbestos. The company was fined $1 million and was placed on five years probation. Cook was sentenced to six months home confinement, a $20,000 fine and three years probation. Wright was sentenced to five months imprisonment and five months home confinement. Coutts was sentenced to four months imprisonment, two months community service and two months home confinement. All defendants except Cook were convicted of not adhering to regulations which require that material containing asbestos be wetted before it is removed so that dust containing asbestos fibers will not become airborne. Cook was convicted of conspiracy to negligently endanger others. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause a lung cancer disease known as asbestosis or mesothelioma, a chest and abdominal cavities cancer. 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; and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois.

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MISSISSIPPI CORPORATION, CHAIRMAN, AND SHAREHOLDER COMPANIES INDICTED 

Tammy H. Etheridge, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Central Industries Inc., Central Industries Inc. and its five shareholder companies: B.C. Rogers Poultry Inc.; Choctaw Maids Farms Inc.; Lady Forest Farms Inc.; Marshall Durban Farms Inc.; and McCarty Farms Inc.; were each indicted on Jan. 20, in U.S. District Court for in Jackson, Miss., for conspiring to violating the Clean Water Act. Central Industries Inc., located in Forest, Miss., each year processes thousands of tons of entrails, blood, feathers and waste from chicken slaughterhouses owned by its shareholder companies. As a result, Central Industries Inc., produces hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater each day that contains pollutants including ammonia nitrogen, fecal coliform bacteria, oil, grease, suspended solids and rotting material that creates a high biological oxygen demand. The indictment alleges that Central Industries Inc., received excessive amounts of waste from chicken slaughter houses than it could process without exceeding its water discharge permit. It is further alleged that the indicted companies and Etheridge ignored warnings that the Central Industries Inc. wastewater treatment system was operating beyond capacity; that they also consistently failed to comply with permits, orders, and directives issued by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality; and that Central Industries, Inc. would sometimes bypass the rendering plant by dumping truckloads of untreated chicken blood into a wastewater lagoon located at its facility. During a four-month period beginning in April 1995, Central Industries, Inc. allegedly violated its discharge permit more than 1,100 times by discharging un-permitted levels of pollutants into Shockaloo Creek, a tributary of the Pearl River that supplies drinking water for the city of Jackson. If convicted, the corporate defendants face a maximum fine of $500,000 on each count. Etheridge faces up to three years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000 on each count, if convicted. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, and is being jointly prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.

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MICHIGAN, NORTH CAROLINA MEN CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL WASTE TRANSPORT

Gregory Kopke of Macomb County, Mich., and Luke Masenick of Raleigh, N.C., were indicted on Jan. 20, in U.S. District Court in Detroit on charges of conspiracy and for allegedly violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The defendants allegedly transported paint and solvent wastes to four sites not approved for disposal. The materials were ignitable and contained benzene, which is a carcinogen. The materials also contained lead which could cause disorders of the bones and nervous system, if there is sufficient exposure. If convicted on all counts, Kopke faces a maximum of 15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $750,000. Masenick faces a maximum ten years imprisonment and/or a fine of $500,000, if convicted. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

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KENTUCKY WASTE COMPANY, PRESIDENT PLEAD GUILTY 

Spectra Services Inc. and its president, Steven M. Dixon, of Knoxville, Tenn., both pleaded guilty on Jan. 20, in U.S. District Court in Knoxville to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Spectra is a licensed transporter of hazardous waste. A spent cleaner, which is a hazardous waste, was collected by the company from the Air National Guard base at McGhee Tyson Airport near Knoxville. The waste contained methylene chloride, which can cause cancer and birth defects. At the pickup, the company did not provide the Air National Guard with an EPA hazardous waste manifest, as required by law. When sentenced, Spectra faces a fine up to $500,000 and Dixon faces up to one year in prison and/or a fine up to $100,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Department of Energy, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Environmental Control. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

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SETTLEMENT REQUIRES NEW MEXICO COMPANY TO CLEAN UP POLLUTION, PAY $1.65 MILLION

Spartan Technology Inc., based in Rio Rancho, N.M., will clean up the soil and a plume of groundwater contaminated by pollution from wastes at its Albuquerque electronic components manufacturing facility and also pay out $1.65 million, under a settlement filed by EPA and the Department of Justice on Jan. 18 in federal court in Albuquerque. The pollution, primarily trichloroethylene and trichloroethane which are considered by EPA to be probable human carcinogens, seeped into the soil and groundwater in amounts exceeding federal drinking water standards and state groundwater standards. The affected groundwater is part of a group of aquifers that is the sole source of drinking water for the Albuquerque area. The company payments totaling $1.65 million will be made to the New Mexico Natural Resources Trustee, the State of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque and the United States Government. Spartan is also required to install a groundwater recovery system to cut off the flow of contaminants from the plant site to the off-site plume, to operate a soil vapor extraction system to remove contaminants from contaminated soils, to assess whether these systems are effectively restoring the groundwater and to evaluate whether alternate remedial strategies should be employed. The consent decree will become legally binding when approved and entered by the federal District Court, following a 30-day public comment period. 

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PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATOR PLEADS GUILTY

State Senator William Lee Slocum, Jr., of Youngsville, Pa., pleaded guilty on Jan. 18, in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to six counts of negligently violating the Clean Water Act when he operated the Youngsville Sewage Treatment Plant between 1983 and 1995. During that period, there were repeated discharges of raw sewage and sewage sludge from the plant into Brokenstraw Creek, a tributary of the Allegheny River. Slocum directed the installation and use of a bypass gate which was used to discharge raw sewage, failed to ensure that the plant's flow meter was providing accurate readings and failed to provide for the removal of sewage sludge from the plant on a regular basis. As a result, approximately 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage and sludge were discharged into Brokenstraw Creek. Raw sewage and sludge contains e.coli bacteria and often contains pathogens. Such pathogens can cause a variety of infections in people who come in contact with contaminated waters and can make surface waters undrinkable for humans and harmful for aquatic organisms and wildlife. Negligent violations of the Clean Water Act provide for a maximum sentence of one year in prison and/or a maximum fine of $100,000 per count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

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LOUISIANA COMPANIES TO PAY $4.5 MILLION FOR WATER VIOLATION

Seven Louisiana companies pleaded guilty on Jan. 13 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans to charges that they conspired to violate the Clean Water Act. Johnson Properties Inc., Johnson Utility Co. Inc., Utilities Management Services Inc., Seashore Utilities Inc., Seashore Utilities of Louisiana Inc., Thoroughbred Park Service Corp., and Tara Development Corp., admitted conspiring from 1991 to 1998 to improperly operate and maintain six wastewater treatment facilities located in and around Thibodaux and Houma, La. The defendants also admitted concealing maintenance and operation violations by submitting false monitoring information to EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Improper wastewater treatment and improper discharge monitoring can lead to the release of harmful levels of e.coli bacteria and other microscopic organisms which can produce intestinal illness in humans and harm aquatic organisms and wildlife. As part of the plea agreement, the defendants will pay a $4.36 million criminal fine and $165,000 in restitution to affected homeowners. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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CITY OF ROANOKE, VA. PLEADS GUILTY TO HAZARDOUS WASTE CRIME

The city of Roanoke, Va., pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Jan. 12, in U.S. District Court in Roanoke for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing hazardous waste without a permit from 1994 to 1998. The city must pay a $125,000 fine, implement a comprehensive environmental management system and spend $475,000 on environmental projects. The charges against Roanoke arose from improper storage of hazardous waste at the city Public Works Service Center (PWSC) and other locations, including a park and recreation facility. Drums of materials stored at the facilities contained a variety of materials including asphalt patch material and ignitable oil-based paints that contained hazardous levels of lead and the solvent toluene. In addition, the defendant buried drums at the PWSC site. Human exposure to lead in sufficient quantities can produce a variety of neurological illnesses and disorders of the skeleton and internal organs. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigation Center, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia.

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COMPANY AND EMPLOYEE PLEAD GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER VIOLATIONS

Chemetco Inc., a Delaware corporation, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of violating the Clean Water Act at its second copper smelter near Hartford, Ill. The plea was made on Jan. 11 in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill. Chemetco also pleaded no contest to charges that it made false statements to EPA and to the Army Corps of Engineers. The charges arose from the installation of a secret, illegal discharge pipe at the smelter. From September 1986 through September 1996 the secret pipe was used to discharge pollutants such as zinc, lead and cadmium into Long Lake, a tributary of the Mississippi River, without a permit. In sufficient quantities these pollutants can be harmful to fish and aquatic life and can make water undrinkable. When sentenced, Chemetco faces up to $2 million in fines. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and the Illinois EPA. 

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

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MINNESOTA COMPANY SENTENCED FOR OIL SPILL

January 14, 2000 - Minnesota - Plummer Excavating Inc., of Plummer, Minn., was sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the District of in Minneapolis on Jan. 7, for violating the Clean Water Act. Plummer was also sentenced to pay a $50,000 fine and an amount of restitution which will be determined at a later date for damages caused by an oil spill. On Sept. 16, 1998, a backhoe operated by a Plummer employee struck a crude oil pipeline which spilled nearly 218,000 gallons of crude oil into a drainage ditch that flows into the Clearwater River. Noxious fumes from the oil spill and the resulting fire hazard led authorities to evacuate the city of Plummer. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety and the Red Lake County Sheriff's Department. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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ILLINOIS FIRM EMPLOYEES PLEAD GUILTY TO WATER LAW VIOLATIONS

January 14, 2000 - Illinois - George Boud, Jr., of East Alton, Ill., Kevin A. Youngman of Highland, Ill., and Bruce W. Hendrickson, of Granite City, Ill., pleaded guilty on Jan. 6, by the U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to charges of conspiracy and violating the Clean Water Act. The defendants were employees of Industrial Fabrication and Repair Inc., a company that was privately owned by Ira S. Campbell, who was also the supervisor of maintenance at a copper smelter owned by Chemetco Inc., in Hartford, Ill. In 1986, Campbell directed the defendants to install a secret discharge pipe at Chemetco's smelter. From September 1986 through September 1996 the pipe was used to discharge pollutants such as zinc, lead and cadmium into Long Lake, a tributary of the Mississippi River. In sufficient quantities, lead, zinc and cadmium can be harmful to fish and aquatic life and can make water unfit for consumption by humans, birds or wildlife. The discharge of these pollutants was done without a permit under the Clean Water Act. When sentenced, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to eight years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police, and the Illinois EPA. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

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KOCH INDUSTRIES TO PAY RECORD FINE FOR OIL SPILLS IN SIX STATESSerrano and other persons working at his direction violated numerous asbestos removal work practice standards in February 1997, including failing to adequately wet the asbestos before removing it, failing to carefully lower the asbestos after removal and failing to ensure that no visible emissions occurred as a result of the removal. 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. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Naval Investigative Service and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.


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