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2004  Compliance information from EPA Newsroom   (Note this information is from EPA News Briefs)

 

December

 

 

12/15/2004  

Four Louisiana Sewage Treatment Plants and Two Plant Operators Sign Plea Agreements
On Nov. 22, four Livingston Parish sewage treatment plants and two operators were charged in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge with violating the Clean Water Act by failing to test wastewater discharges and by failing to file discharge monitoring reports on wastewater that was discharged into the Amite River between November 2000 and January 2002. The defendants signed a plea agreement, which if accepted by the court, will carry the following penalties: The Sewer Company Inc., pleaded to a felony violation and will pay a $250,000 fine and $14,000 in restitution. The other five defendants, Intrinsic Inc.; 45,000 Inc.; NTL Inc.; John W. Easterly; and Saun A. Sullivan, have each pleaded to misdemeanor violations and have each agreed to pay fines of $25,000 and restitution of $2,500. Not monitoring wastewater discharges to surface waters has the potential to harm fish, wildlife and humans who come into contact with the waters. The case was investigated by the Baton Rouge Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the Middle District of Louisiana.

 

November

 

 

Currently No News Briefs available

 

October

 

 

10/14/2004  

Bridge Project Manager Pleads Guilty in North Carolina
Michael E. Hillyer of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., project manager for Balfour Beatty Construction Inc. (BBC), a subsidiary of the United Kingdom-based Balfour Beatty, PLC, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C., to conspiring to violate the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) and the Clean Water Act, and to a substantive violation of the RHA. As project manager for BBC, Hillyer oversaw the dredging of a portion of the Croatan Sound and supervised the discharge of the dredged spoil into the Sound in October 2002. BBC did not have a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to do this work. The violations occurred when BBC's employees removed a temporary load-out trestle that had been constructed in shallow water near Manns Harbor as part of the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge construction project. The five-mile bridge spans the Sound from Manns Harbor to Manteo. In order to get a crane to the trestle site, BBC employees used backwash from a tugboat propeller to cut a channel next to the trestle. As a result, 5500 cubic yards of dredged spoil was expelled from the channel and deposited on approximately 8.2 acres of habitat on the sound bottom. Croatan Sound has been designated as high quality waters, and covering habitat can injure fish and wildlife. When sentenced, Hillyer faces a maximum penalty of up to four years in prison and/or a maximum fine of up to $500,000. BBC and two other BBC employees have already pleaded guilty in this case. The case was investigated by the Charlotte Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

10/14/2004  

Massachusetts Yarn Company Sentenced on Clean Water Act Charges
Dutton Yarn company, L.P., a yarn processing facility in Lowell, Mass., was ordered to pay a $300,000 fine on Oct. 5 in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). In June, Dutton Yarn agreed to plead guilty to two counts of violating the CWA. The company was charged with negligently discharging pollution that depleted oxygen levels in receiving water. Pollution that depletes oxygen harms fish and aquatic life. As part of the sentence, Dutton Yarn must also establish an environmental compliance program. The case was investigated by the Boston Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.

contact: Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819/ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

10/14/2004  

Minnesota Warehouse/Supply Company Charged with Illegal Hazardous Waste Storage and Disposal
Roof Depot, which owned a store in Minneapolis, Minn., was charged on Sept. 27 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis with allegedly violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In September 1998, the company allegedly brought several pallet-loads of hazardous waste roofing cement, strippers and solvents to its facility on 28th Street in Minneapolis and stored them behind some buildings under a tarp. In March 1999, a former operations manager for Roof Depot allegedly ordered employees to bury these hazardous wastes in an unloading dock area that the company was filling and grading. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of Hennepin County Environmental Services. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis.

10/14/2004  

Wyoming Man Convicted of Clean Water Violations Affecting Indian Lands
John Hubenka, of Riverton, Wyo., was found guilty by a jury on Sept. 28 in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming on charges that he built unpermitted dikes in the Wind River in violation of the Clean Water Act. The dikes altered the course of the river and this resulted in 300 acres of tribal lands being cut off from the Wind River Reservation. Between March 1999 and November 1999, Hubenka conducted and managed dredging and construction activities in various locations as part of building three earthen dikes. The defendant used earth moving equipment to discharge rock, sand and other dredge and fill material into the river. Unpermitted discharge of dredge and fill material into rivers can harm fish and wildlife and separating tribal lands from an Indian reservation can create an economic burden on Indians who wish to use the lands for agricultural or other economic purposes. The case was investigated by the Denver Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with legal support from EPA Region 8 in Denver. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cheyenne.

10/07/2004  

Pennsylvania Company and Its President Charged in Clean Water Act Case
BEF Corp. of Allentown, Pa., and Elward Brewer of Englewood, Fla., BEF's founder and president, were each charged on Sept. 22, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with allegedly violating the Clean Water Act by discharging silver-laden and acidic waste water into sewers operated by the City of Bethlehem, Pa., and the City of Allentown, Pa. BEF buys used one-hour photo-processing machines, refurbishes them and then resells them throughout the world. During the refurbishment process, BEF generates silver-laden and acidic wastewater. In addition BEF was also charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and with 12 counts of making false statements to the government. These charges stem from BEF's exportation of goods to Iran, and from BEF's alleged practice of discounting the fair market value of its photo labs on Shippers' Export Declarations to help its international customers avoid paying import duties. Unlawfully disposing of metal laden and acidic waste water into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and can interfere with the proper treatment of sewage by sewage treatment facilities. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Export Enforcement and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Investigative assistance was provided by the waste water treatment departments of the Borough of Catasauqua, the City of Bethelem, South Whitehall Township and the City of Allentown. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia.

 

September

 

 

09/30/2004  

Idaho Man Sentenced in Paint Waste Case
Dennis D. Ellis of Boise, Idaho, former director and corporation secretary for Ponderosa Paint Company in Boise, was sentenced on Sept. 16 to pay a $50,000 fine, pay an additional $40,000 in restitution for clean up costs incurred by the U.S. EPA, spend 30 days in home confinement and serve six months supervised release by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Boise. Ellis has pleaded guilty to a charge of being an accessory after-the-fact to transportation of hazardous waste without a manifest in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In January 2000, Ellis negotiated the sale of Ponderosa Paint to Kelly Moore Paints for $14 million. A condition of the sale was that Ellis would be responsible for disposing of approximately 20,000 gallons of waste oil-based paint that had accumulated at the Ponderosa facility between 1995 and 2000. Instead of paying a licensed hazardous waste disposal company approximately $150,000 to dispose of the wastes, Ellis offered individuals $1 per gallon to dispose of the waste paint. Some of the paint waste was illegally transported to private property in Wilder, Idaho, and burned in a pit. The case was investigated by the Portland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of the Idaho State Police, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, the EPA Idaho Operations Office, and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise.

09/30/2004  

Ship's Captain and Engineers Arrested on Ocean Dumping Charges
Loannis Kallikis of Greece, captain of the M/V Katerina; Elgardo Guinto of the Philippines, the ship's chief engineer; and Rolan Sullesta of the Philippines, the ship's second engineer were all arrested in the Los Angeles area on Sept. 21 on charges that they had allegedly been involved in the dumping of oil-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. When the Katerina berthed in the Port of Long Beach on Sept. 14, crew members contacted dock workers and reported that they had been directed to throw trash and discharge sewage and oil into the Pacific Ocean. The Coast Guard inspected the ship on Sept. 14 and 15. During these inspections, they discovered that the ship's oil-water separator was not being used and that a bypass had been constructed around the separator. All three defendants are charged with failing to properly maintain the Katerina's Oil Record Book, making false statements to Coast Guard investigators and obstructing justice by falsifying records. Kallikis faces an additional obstruction of justice charge for allegedly instructing Guinto not to answer questions from Coast Guard investigators. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the Coast Guard's Investigative Service and the Los Angeles office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

09/23/2004  

Connecticut Man Sentenced for Clean Water Act Violation
Daniel R. Callahan of Broad Brook, Conn., was sentenced on Sept. 9 to serve three years probation, the first six months of which will be spent in home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and perform 150 hours of community service when he appeared before the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford. The defendant violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by falsifying reports submitted to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Callahan was formerly the Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the Stafford Division of Tyco Printed Circuit Group (TCPG). TCPG is a subsidiary of Tyco International. One of Callahan's primary responsibilities was to oversee the operation of Tyco's waste treatment facility at its factory in Manchester, Conn. In February 2001, Callahan assisted in the fabrication of reports submitted to DEP concerning the Manchester facility. The reports failed to include the fact that a waste treatment "batch tank" had been discharged into the Manchester public sewer system. Tyco's DEP permit required that discharges from the tank be reported. Instead, Callahan reported that the tank had not been discharged. As a result, the wastewater discharged from the factory exceeded the levels of copper allowed in the factory's discharge permit. Copper is a toxic metal which can, if passed through sewage treatment plants, harm fish, aquatic life, wildlife and humans who come into contact with copper-contaminated surface waters downstream from sewage treatment facilities. Two other defendants in this case, Anthony Dadalt and Robert Smith, were sentenced to probation for violating the CWA. TCPG was ordered to pay a $6 million fine and spend an additional $4 million on environmentally beneficial programs as a result of its CWA conviction in this case. The case was investigated by the New Haven Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut DEP with the assistance of EPA's National

09/23/2004  

Connecticut Man Sentenced for Clean Water Act Violation
Daniel R. Callahan of Broad Brook, Conn., was sentenced on Sept. 9 to serve three years probation, the first six months of which will be spent in home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and perform 150 hours of community service when he appeared before the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford. The defendant violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by falsifying reports submitted to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Callahan was formerly the Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the Stafford Division of Tyco Printed Circuit Group (TCPG). TCPG is a subsidiary of Tyco International. One of Callahan's primary responsibilities was to oversee the operation of Tyco's waste treatment facility at its factory in Manchester, Conn. In February 2001, Callahan assisted in the fabrication of reports submitted to DEP concerning the Manchester facility. The reports failed to include the fact that a waste treatment "batch tank" had been discharged into the Manchester public sewer system. Tyco's DEP permit required that discharges from the tank be reported. Instead, Callahan reported that the tank had not been discharged. As a result, the wastewater discharged from the factory exceeded the levels of copper allowed in the factory's discharge permit. Copper is a toxic metal which can, if passed through sewage treatment plants, harm fish, aquatic life, wildlife and humans who come into contact with copper-contaminated surface waters downstream from sewage treatment facilities. Two other defendants in this case, Anthony Dadalt and Robert Smith, were sentenced to probation for violating the CWA. TCPG was ordered to pay a $6 million fine and spend an additional $4 million on environmentally beneficial programs as a result of its CWA conviction in this case. The case was investigated by the New Haven Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut DEP with the assistance of EPA's National

09/15/2004  

Fourth Defendant Charged in Minnesota Plating Case
James K. Meissner, a former employee of Prime Plating of Maple Grove, Minn., was charged on Sept. 2 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA). Previously, Prime Plating, Scott Hanson, Prime Plating's Owner; and two other individuals, Sam Opare-Addo and Arlynn Hanson were also charged with CWA violations in this case. Prime plating is in the metal finishing business. The charges allege that the conspiracy took place in June and July of 2003, when the defendants allegedly conspired to discharge industrial wastewater from the Prime Plating facility in order to allow the business to continue operations even thought it did not have a functioning pre-treatment system for its waste as required by the Metropolitan Council. The defendants allegedly discharged untreated wastewater directly into sewers using pumps and garden hoses. In addition, Prime Plating, Hanson and Opare-Addo allegedly conspired to hide the illegal discharges from state and federal regulators. Discharging plating wastes into sewers can prevent the proper treatment of sewage at sewage treatment facilities. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, the FBI, the Metropolitan Council's Environmental Service Division for the St. Paul/Minneapolis Area and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and the City of Bloomington, Minnesota's Fire Department, Police Department and Emergency Response Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis.

09/15/2004  

Minnesota Auto Shop Owner Pleads Guilty in Discharge Case
Robert Steinmetz of Prior Lake, Minn., pleaded guilty on Sept. 7 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Steinmetz is the former owner of Riverwood Auto, an auto repair firm, and Diamondback Bedliner, an applicator of automotive bedliner coatings. Both businesses are located in Bloomington, Minn. Steinmetz violated the CWA in November 2003, by knowingly discharging wastewater containing petroleum-based chemicals into a storm sewer that connects with the Minnesota River. Discharging petroleum-based chemicals into storm sewers can create a fire hazard and can harm fish and wildlife in areas where the sewer connects to surface waters. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis.

09/09/2004  

Louisiana Company and Former Acting Plant Manager Sentenced for Violating Clean Water Act
Industrial Zeolite Limited, a corporation that operates in LeCompte, La., and Emanuel Drouin of Marksville, La., former acting Plant Manager for Industrial Zeolite, were each sentenced on Sept. 1, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Alexandria, La., for violating the Clean Water Act. Industrial Zeolite manufactures a product used in the production of detergents and other products. In February 2004, the company was charged with releasing 1.1 million gallons of wastewater exhibiting a high pH into a ditch that flows into the Callahan Bayou. Releasing water with a high pH can harm fish and wildlife which live in and use the bayou. The company was fined $1 million and required to pay $457,441.36 in remedial payments. The remedial payments will be used to offset the cost of the prosecution and provide local government agencies with training and equipment to deal with hazardous material spills. The company also was required to remediate damage caused by the spill. Drouin will serve five months in prison and five months in home confinement. He must also pay a $10,000 fine. Both defendants were also sentenced for the same offenses in the 9th Judicial District Court of the State of Louisiana. The defendants received the same sentences that were imposed in federal court and the sentences will be served concurrently. The case was investigated by the Baton Rouge Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Louisiana and by state prosecutors in Rapides Parrish.

09/03/2004  

EPA Grants Fuel Waivers for Parts of Florida Affected by Hurricanes-Extension Granted until September 15th
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has determined that shortages of diesel fuel and gasoline due to the approach of Hurricane Frances require a waiver of certain fuel requirements under the Clean Air Act.

09/01/2004  

EPA "Enforcement Alert" Focuses on Asbestos in Schools
EPA's Office of Regulatory Enforcement has dedicated the September 2004 issue of "Enforcement Alert" to the protection of children from exposure to asbestos at school. When asbestos-containing material is disturbed, fibers may be released into the air and inhaled by children and school staff. A popular misconception is that asbestos-containing materials were banned and removed from school buildings years ago. Although some schools have been able to remove asbestos altogether, many have opted to manage asbestos-containing material in place. This "Enforcement Alert" reminds schools and local education agencies to inspect their facilities for asbestos-containing building materials and prepare management plans for the reduction of asbestos hazards. To read the September "Alert," go to: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/newsletters/civil/enfalert/aheraalert0721.pdf . To get more information on asbestos in schools, go to: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/asbestos_in_schools.html . [For more information]

09/01/2004  

President of Pennsylvania Laboratory Convicted of Mail Fraud
Edward V. Kellogg, President, Quality Control Officer and owner of Johnson Laboratories Inc., in New Cumberland, Pa., was convicted of 34 counts of mail fraud for billing customers for false environmental test reports from May 1998 to July 2000. Johnson Laboratories was in the business of providing analytical testing of environmental samples of water and wastewater. The charges claimed that Kellogg caused environmental test results for Volatile Organic Chemicals to be falsely prepared and that he billed customers $9,722 for the fraudulent test results. Submitting false laboratory results can prevent pollution control programs from being effective. The conviction was handed down on Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Allentown, Pa. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the EPA Office of Inspector General, the Environmental Crimes Section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Laboratories. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Allentown.

09/01/2004  

Waste Disposal Company Owner Sentenced for Illegal Dumping in Alabama
Don Milton White, a private contractor from Mobile, Ala., was sentenced to six months in prison, three years probation and $20,000 in restitution to the U.S. EPA. In May, White pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. White contracted with the Escambia County Utility Authority in Florida to transport and dispose of wastes from its wastewater treatment facility. White illegally dumped the wastes, which included oils, tar, paint wastes, hydraulic fluid, solvents and other mixed materials, at separate locations in Mobile and in Baldwin County in Southern Alabama. Of the hundreds of gallons of wastes White illegally discarded, some contained highly corrosive liquid that is regulated as hazardous waste under federal law. Dumping waste oils, fluids and solvents on the ground can create a contamination hazard for humans and wildlife. Sentencing took place on Aug. 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile. The case was investigated by the Jackson, Miss., Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's Emergency Response Branch and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Mobile and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

 

August

 

 

08/25/2004  

Colorado Electroplating Company and Manager Indicted in Sewer Dumping Case
Luxury Wheels Inc. of Grand Junction, Colo., and Albert David Hajduk, Luxury Wheels' operations manager, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy and violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). According to the indictment, Luxury Wheels was an electroplating business that used various chemicals for its processes including acids and caustics, as well as chemical solutions containing metals. The indictment alleges that from May 1999 until September 2003, the defendants entered into a conspiracy and violated the CWA by attempting to treat wastewater at times when their treatment system was overburdened, by diluting wastes before treating them in violation of their discharge permit and by hiring a company to hydrojet the company's sewage service line to remove chemical sludge blockages in order to conceal evidence of illegal discharges. Illegally discharging chemicals, caustics and acids into sewers can create a danger to sewage treatment plant workers and can also prevent the proper treatment of sewage when it reaches the plant. Indictments were handed up on Aug. 11 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in Denver. The case was investigated by the Denver Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver.

08/25/2004  

Connecticut Company to Pay $10 Million for Clean Water Act Violations
Tyco Printed Circuit Group (TPCG) of Stafford, Conn., a subsidiary of Tyco International, was sentenced on 12 counts of violating the Clean Water Act. The plea agreement calls for TPCG to pay a total of $10 million in fines. Of that amount, $6 million will be paid as a federal criminal fine; $2.7 million will go to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) natural resources fund; the Towns of Stafford and Manchester will receive $500,000 each to fund improvements in their sewer and water treatment systems; and $300,000 will pay for recycling deionized and other wastewater at the company's Stafford and Staffordville facilities. Between 1999 and June 2001, TPCG managers at the company's Stafford, Staffordville and Manchester facilities engaged in a variety of practices that caused the facilities to discharge wastewater with higher than permitted levels of pollutants into municipal sewage treatment systems. The illegal practices included, but were not limited to, diluting potentially non-compliant wastewater samples, discarding of samples with excessive levels of toxic metals, and omitting samples that were not in compliance for pH. Sentencing took place on Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford. The case was investigated by the Boston Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut DEP with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Hartford.

08/18/2004  

California Real Estate Developer Sentenced for Illegal Asbestos Removal in Idaho
Aubrey Lewis Ritz of Sacramento, Calif., was sentenced to serve five years of probation, the first year of which will be spent in home confinement and pay a $100,000 fine for violating the Clean Air Act by failing to conduct a thorough asbestos inspection at the Stardust Hotel in Idaho Falls prior to undertaking a renovation project. Failure to follow federal asbestos workplace practices can expose workers and others who enter an asbestos workplace to the inhalation of asbestos fibers which are a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as asbestosis and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Fifty thousand dollars of the fine will be given to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for a project in Southeast Idaho. Sentencing was handed down on Aug. 1 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Pocatello. The case was investigated by the Boise office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with contract assistance from EPA Region 10. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho.

08/18/2004  

Texas Painting Company and Owner Plead Guilty in Lead Paint Waste Case
Kerrville Painting Company Inc., of Kerrville, Texas, and its owner, Nick Muskie, also known as Nickolas Mouzakis, pleaded guilty to felony criminal violations that arose from sandblasting and painting work the company did in highway bridge contracts in northeast Arkansas in 1999 and 2000. Kerrville Painting pleaded guilty to conspiracy, illegal disposal of hazardous waste, illegal transportation of hazardous waste and illegal discharge of pollutants into the Black River from two different bridge locations. Muskie pleaded guilty to conspiracy and illegal disposal of hazardous waste. Kerrville Painting Company specialized in sandblasting and painting steel structures, primarily bridges, in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Bridge sandblasting and painting typically generates wastes contaminated with lead which must be disposed of properly to avoid exposure of the public, fish and wildlife to lead and lead compounds. Exposure to sufficient quantities of lead can cause neurological disorders, developmental disorders, birth defects, diseases of the blood and kidneys and even death. The pleas were entered on Aug. 9 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in Little Rock. The case was investigated by the Dallas and Houston Offices of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Office of General Counsel, the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office Environmental Protection Unit, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock.

08/18/2004  

Transportation Fined for Ocean Dumping
Sabine Transportation of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been sentenced to pay a $2 million fine for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Shipping (APPS). The court also ordered that $1 million of the fine be declared a bounty and shared by three whistle-blowers from the crews of the SS Juneau and SS Trinity. Sabine operates a fleet of ships that carry cargo from the United States to foreign countries. In its guilty plea, Sabine admitted to several violations including: discharging diesel fuel-contaminated wheat into the Pacific Ocean from the S.S. Juneau, discharging plastic wastes and oily diesel fuel cargo from the S.S. Trinity into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as failing to maintain required records and discharging oily waste from the S.S. Colorado, S.S. Guadalupe and S.S. Sea Princess. Dumping oil and other wastes into the open seas can harm fish and other aquatic life. The sentence was handed down in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. The case was investigated by the St. Louis office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cedar Rapids and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

08/12/2004  

Connecticut Shipping Corporation to Pay $4.2 Million for Dumping Oil at Sea
OMI Corporation of Stamford, Connecticut, was ordered to pay a $4.2 million fine for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). The OMI Corporation's tanker Guadalupe illegally discharged oil using a bypass hose to circumvent on-board pollution control equipment and concealed the discharges through false entries in the ship's Oil Record Book. The Guadalupe routinely transported crude oil and petroleum products between the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. In September 2001, the ship's second engineer went to a local police department when the ship docked in Cartaret, N.J. He informed the police that he was being ordered to dump oily wastes at sea. The second engineer was awarded $2.1 million of the fine, said to be the largest bounty ever paid to a whistleblower under APPS. The ship's captain, Ashok Kumar, and chief engineer, Elangovan Mani, have also pleaded guilty in this case. Sentencing took place on August 6 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the New York Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Inspector General's Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

08/10/2004  

MEDIA ADVISORY: EPA Administrator Leavitt in Ashland, Wis., to gather information on Great Lakes issues and cleanup
CHICAGO (Aug. 10, 2004)  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Mike Leavitt will be in Ashland, Wis., on Wednesday, Aug. 11, visiting the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center and canoeing on Lake Superior. This spring, he was asked to lead a task force to coordinate local, state and federal efforts to clean up the lakes. This month he will be touring the region to learn more about issues affecting the lakes. [For more information]

08/04/2004  

Missouri Man Pleads Guilty to False Statement About Lead Notification
Robert James of St. Louis, Mo., pled guilty to making a false statement to a government agency. According to court documents, James owned rental property in St. Louis which had a history of lead-based paint problems. In June 2000, the City of St. Louis inspected the defendant's property and issued a lead abatement order to him. The order, issued under the Lead Paint Hazard Reduction Act, required James to provide documentation to the EPA Region 7 Office of Regional Counsel indicating he had come into compliance. In October 2002, the defendant sent a letter to the Regional Counsel that falsely stated he was in compliance and he also sent other documentation falsely representing that he had provided a proper lead paint history to renters at his property. At sentencing, James faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The plea was entered on July 28 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis. The case was investigated by the St. Louis office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis.

 

July

 

 

07/28/2004  

Man Arrested for Defrauding Connecticut Schools in Mold Remediation Plot
Ronald Schongar of Clifton Park, N.Y., was arrested on Jul. 15 for alleged mail fraud, wire fraud and violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Schongar stands accused of providing unnecessary mold remediation at schools in Easton, Manchester and Bristol, Connecticut. Schongar owns and operates Microb Phase, Inc., and several other entities that advertise air quality testing and mold remediation services. Court documents charge that, as early as 2000, the defendant plotted to defraud Connecticut schools by allegedly generating false and fraudulent laboratory reports about school air quality and offering Microb Phase's services to remediate the purported air quality problems. Furthermore, he falsely and fraudulently represented that the product he used in his remediation program was approved by EPA, and generated false and fraudulent reports indicating his services and products had successfully remediated the air quality problems he claimed to have identified. If convicted of mail and wire fraud, Schongar faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine on each count. If convicted of violating FIFRA, the maximum sentence calls for up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000 per count. The case was investigated by the New Haven, Conn., Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Easton Police Department with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Haven, Conn. Federal charges are merely an accusation, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

07/21/2004  

Two Wisconsin Men Sentenced for Illegal Asbestos Removal
Michael L. Smith and Lawrence J. Williams, partners in Smith Renovations in Janesville, Wisconsin, were sentenced for illegal removal of asbestos, a violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin in July, 2002. Smith was sentenced to 6 months of community confinement and 5 years of probation. Williams was sentenced to 3 months of community confinement and 5 years of probation. As part of their sentences, both men were also required to pay $50,380 in restitution to Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb. In April 2002, Smith and Williams were contracted to renovate the church. Despite being informed that the ceiling in the church classrooms contained asbestos, Smith and Williams improperly scraped the ceilings of numerous classrooms. They were stopped by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor who was at the site to perform other work in July 2002. Improper removal and bagging of asbestos can expose workers and others who enter the area to the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. Inhaled asbestos fibers are a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as asbestosis, and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Sentencing took place on July 14 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Madison.

07/14/2004  

Former New York Resident Indicted on Fraud Charges Related to Underground Tank Removal
Bahavesh Kamdar, formerly of Williamsville, N.Y., was indicted on 30 counts of mail fraud and money laundering on June 30, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo, N.Y. Kamdar is accused of allegedly over-billing New York State through a contract to remove and replace underground storage tanks at New York State facilities. Kamdar formerly owned Industrial Site Services, Inc., which was awarded a $4.9 million underground storage tank remedial contract by the New York State Office of General Services. The indictment alleges that Kamdar falsely declared payment of a $500,000 performance bond premium/collateral price and over-charging New York State for the services of his company. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of over $5.9 million. The case was investigated by the New York State Inspector General's Office, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division office in Buffalo. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo. An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

07/14/2004  

New York Industrial Park Owner Pleads Guilty to Illegal Asbestos Removal
Arthur Hilton of Castelton, N.Y., owner of the Hilton Industrial Park in Rensselaer, N.Y., has pled guilty to violating the Clean Air Act. Hilton admitted to hiring workers to illegally handle asbestos from buildings which he owned at his industrial park. The defendant admitted that the workers illegally disposed of the asbestos by dumping it at various locations near the New York State/Massachusetts border. Illegal dumping of asbestos can cause asbestos fibers to become airborne, and 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. At sentencing, Hilton faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The plea was entered on June 30 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in Syracuse. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division office in Syracuse, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of Labor's Asbestos Control Bureau. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Syracuse.

07/14/2004  

Norwegian Shipping Company Sentenced to Pay $3.5 Million Fine
Hoegh Fleet Services, a Norwegian operator of ocean-going cargo ships, was sentenced to pay a $3.5 million fine for seven felony violations of U.S. federal law. Hoegh's was found guilty of keeping a falsified Oil Record book, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard. Hoegh was ordered to develop a comprehensive environmental plan for all 38 of its ships that visit U.S. waters and ordered to serve four years probation. According to court documents, the investigation began in September 2003 after a whistleblower from the crew of the vessel Hoegh Minerva informed authorities that members of the crew had allegedly used a bypass pipe to route waste oil around the oil-water separator in the ship's pollution control system. Investigators later uncovered evidence indicating that the ship's Oil Record Book contained false entries. Falsifying Oil Record Books can prevent regulators from determining if ships are in compliance with federal law. Sentencing was handed down on June 29 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle offices of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Los Angeles and Portland Offices of U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office with assistance from the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Washington State Department of Ecology's Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

07/14/2004  

Two West Virginia Residents Sentenced in Asbestos Case
Elaine Mauck and Jess Mauck, co-owners of a company called Crim de la Crim. in Martinsburg, W.Va., were sentenced on June 25 for crimes arising from the illegal removal of asbestos. The defendants will each serve three years probation, the first six months in home detention. They were also ordered to pay $52,000 in restitution for medical monitoring of workers they illegally hired to remove and dispose of asbestos from a building in Martinsburg between November 2000 and February 2001. Elaine Mauck pled guilty to illegally removing asbestos in violation of the Clean Air Act. Jess Mauck pled guilty to illegally removing and disposing of asbestos without a license in violation of the Toxic Substances and Control Act. At the plea hearing, an EPA Criminal Investigation Division (EPA/CID) Special Agent testified that the defendants hired and then exposed untrained workers to asbestos without protection during the removal and disposal of asbestos from the building. Sentencing was handed down in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in Wheeling, W.Va. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division Office in Wheeling, the FBI and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Wheeling, W.Va. and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

07/08/2004  

EPA Takes Enforcement Action Against DuPont For Toxic Substances Reporting Violations
EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) is taking an administrative action against E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) for two violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and one violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). These violations consist of multiple failures to report information to EPA about substantial risk of injury to human health or the environment from a chemical during a period beginning in June of 1981 through March of 2001. Companies are required by TSCA to report such information immediately. EPA has the authority to seek a penalty of $25,000 per day for violations occurring before January 30, 1997, and up to $27,500 per day for violations occurring thereafter, for each day that DuPont failed to report the information. EPA alleges that DuPont did not submit to the Agency information the company had obtained regarding the synthetic chemical Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). PFOA is used in the manufacturing process for fluoropolymers, including some Teflon? products, at DuPont's Washington Works facility in Washington, West Virginia. In 1981, the company observed PFOA in blood samples taken from pregnant workers at the Washington Works facility and at least one woman had transferred the chemical to her fetus. DuPont detected the chemical in public water supplies as early as the mid-1980s in West Virginia and Ohio communities in the vicinity of the Washington Works facility. By 1991 DuPont had information that the chemical was in water supplies at a greater level than the company's exposure guidlelines indicated would be without any effect to members of the community. In 1997, DuPont failed to provide EPA with all toxicological information the company had regarding PFOA, despite an EPA request for such information under the terms of an EPA-issued RCRA permit. An attorney working on a class action suit on behalf of citizens in Ohio and West Virginia brought this information to the EPA in 200

07/07/2004  

Connecticut Plating Company and General Manager Plead in Clean Water Act Case
Aluminum Finishing Company, Inc., of Bridgeport Conn., and Duane Bass, Aluminum Finishing's General Manager, both pled guilty on June 21 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Aluminum Finishing performs electroplating, painting, anodizing and chromating a variety of metal products for industry. The company had a permit to discharge treated process wastewater into the Bridgeport sewer system, which in turn discharges into Long Island Sound. Aluminum Finishing pled guilty to repeated violations of its discharge permit from October 27, 2000 to January 5, 2001. Specifically, the government stated that the company discharged wastewater which exceeded its CWA discharge permit levels for pH, chromium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc. The government further alleged that Aluminum Finishing was in the practice of discharging approximately 8,000 gallons of unpretreated wastewater on Friday evenings. Defendant Bass was charged with an illegal discharge on January 5, 2001. The discharge of wastewater containing contaminants above permitted levels has the potential to interfere with municipal sewage treatment processes. The case was investigated by the Boston Area Office EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Bridgeport's treatment works. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Haven.

07/07/2004  

EPA Lifts Stop Sale on Three 1st EnviroSafety Products
On June 24, EPA lifted a restriction on the sale of three products made by 1st EnviroSafety Inc. of St. James, Fla. The company complied with a June 2 Order and removed all references to pesticidal properties from the products' labels and removed all pesticidal claims from the company's website. Specifically, the restriction on the sale and distribution of Organic Cleaner/Degreaser (Military Strength); Industrial Cleaner & Degreaser; and ECCO Commercial All Purpose Colloidal Cleaner has been lifted. The June 2 Order remains in place for the following products: Organic Veggie Wash; Yacht & Boat Bath (Organic); Any Floors #123; ECCO Dishwashing Machine Concentrate; Organic - Bath & Tile; Organic - Pet Care; and Organic - Multi-Purpose. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), products claiming to prevent, destroy, or repel pests, including anthrax bacteria, are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA. The pre-market registration process requires a company to prove the product is safe and effective for consumer use before a legal claim can be made that it protects people and pets from illness caused by pests. EPA-registered products must bear the registration number on labeling, along with directions for use and any safety precautions. The stop sale order requires 1st EnviroSafety Inc. to remove all pesticide claims from its advertising and labeling and to notify EPA within 30 days of the steps they have taken to do so. EPA, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will be monitoring compliance with this stop sale order and will continue to monitor the Internet for illegal pesticide sales.

 

June

 

 

06/30/2004  

California PVC Manufacturer Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $4.3 Million Fine
Keysor-Century Corporation, a defunct company which manufactured polyvinyl chloride at its facility in Saugus, Calif., agreed on June 17 to plead guilty to a series of felony charges and pay $4.3 million in criminal and civil penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, for committing mail fraud, defrauding the United States and for civil violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. Specifically, Keysor-Century was charged with knowingly releasing toxic wastewater into the Santa Clara River, illicit emission of air pollutants, falsifying emission reports to state and federal agencies, illegally storing and handling hazardous waste and maintaining its facility in a way that posed a threat of release of hazardous substances into the environment. These substances included vinyl chloride, a flammable gas known to be carcinogenic when inhaled by humans. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, the City of Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Health Hazardous Materials Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

06/23/2004  

Yarn Company Agrees to Plead Guilty to Clean Water Act Charges
Dutton Yarn company, L.P., a yarn processing facility in Lowell, Mass., agreed to plead guilty on June 10 to violations of the Clean Water Act resulting from the illicit discharge of pollutants into a local river. Under the terms of the agreement, Dutton Yarn is expected to plead guilty to a two-count information that charges the company with the negligent discharge of wastewater containing pollutants creating a bio-chemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand through an undergound pipe into the Meadowbrook River in Massachusetts. Upon entering a guilty plea, the defendant will pay a $300,000 fine and establish an environmental compliance program. Discharging wastewater with bio-chemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand into surface waters can harm fish and aquatic life. This type of discharge causes excessive amounts of oxygen to be consumed by bacteria, depriving other aquatic organisms of oxygen needed to support life. The case was investigated by the Boston Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.

06/16/2004  

41 Count Indictment in Mississippi Wetlands Contamination Case
On June 10, Robert Lucas, Jr. of Lucedale, Miss.; Robbie Lucas Wrigley of Ocean Springs, Miss.; and M.E. Thompson, Jr., of D'Iberville, Miss. were indicted for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act by illegally constructing septic systems and for dredging and filling wetland areas in a 2620-acre home site development in Vancleave, Miss. Additionally, two of Lucas' corporations, Big Hill Acres, Inc. and Consolidated Investments, Inc., also were charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and aiding and abetting one another in this case. The charges allege that the defendants misrepresented the habitability of the lots and installed septic systems in saturated wetland soils at the Big Hill Acres development, despite warnings from the Mississippi Department of Health that they were creating a public health threat. The defendants also allegedly ignored numerous warnings and cease and desist orders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. EPA. Both agencies advised the defendants that the deteriorating systems could possibly contaminate the local drinking water aquifer. Failing septic systems are one of the primary sources of ground water contamination, and a factor in the contamination of drinking water sources, possibly causing viral and bacterial illnesses. The case was investigated by the Jacksonville, Miss. Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service and U.S. EPA Region IV office in Atlanta. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Gulfport and the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section in Washington, D.C. The filing of federal charges is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

06/16/2004  

President of Ohio Company Indicted for Illegal Asbestos Removal
Brett B. Pomeroy, President of Nelson Bedding Products, Inc., in Youngstown, Ohio, was indicted on June 9 for allegedly removing asbestos illegally, and failing to properly dispose of removed asbestos. The defendant allegedly directed an individual to illegally remove the asbestos from the Nelson Building's basement in Youngstown, while the plant was in operation and people were working elsewhere in the building. Improperly removing asbestos can cause workers and other people entering the work area to inhale airborne asbestos fibers, which is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the Cleveland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Mahonig/Trumbull County Air Pollution Control Agency. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until convicted in a court of law.

06/10/2004  

EPA Orders "Stop Sale" of Product that Claims To Neutralize Anthrax
Washington, D.C. -- The owner of 1st EnviroSafety Inc. of St. James, Fla., was ordered by EPA on May 26 to stop Web site sales of unregistered pesticide products, including one that claims to neutralize the effects of anthrax bacteria.

06/02/2004  

Defendant Sentenced to 17 Years and Fined $26.9 Million in Freon Smuggling Scheme
Marc M. Harris was sentenced on May 21 to serve 17 years in prison, pay a federal fine of $20,324,560 and pay the Internal Revenue Service $6,588,949 in restitution by the U.S. District Court in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for his conviction on charges of defrauding the IRS, conspiracy to commit money laundering and evading federal excise taxes for smuggling the restricted chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant commonly known as "Freon" into the United States. He will also serve three years of supervised release. Importation of Freon is taxable and is highly regulated under the Montreal Protocol, because its release into the atmosphere depletes the earth's protective ozone layer. High doses of the sun's radiation can cause skin cancer and cataracts in people. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Customs Service and the Jacksonville Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted by U.S. Department of Justice's Tax Division in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami.

06/02/2004  

Louisiana Man Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Wetlands Violation
Terry P. LeBlanc of Lafayette, La., was sentenced on May 20 to serve 21 months in prison, by the U.S. District Court in Lafayette, La., for violating the Clean Water Act by illegally filling wetlands. He must also serve 12 months supervised probation and pay a $3,000 criminal fine. On November 19, 2002, LeBlanc dumped large quantities of construction debris and roofing shingles into wetlands located in the "St. Martinville Road" area near Lafayette. Subsequent investigations by EPA uncovered a history of repeated violations at this site by LeBlanc. Dumping debris in wetlands can destroy important habitat for fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by the New Orleans Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lafayette, Louisiana.

06/02/2004  

New Hampshire Man Pleads Guilty and is Sentenced for Illegal Asbestos Removal
Kevin Craffey of Duxbury, N.H., pled guilty on May 21 in Coos County Superior Court to charges that he performed an unlicenced removal of asbestos from the Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, N.H., and that he illegally disposed of the asbestos during the resort's renovation in 2001. The Court sentenced Craffey to pay the state of New Hampshire $82,000 in restitution and pay a $150,000 forfeiture to the Asbestos Management and Control Fund of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. In addition, Craffey will serve two months at the House of Corrections with an additional 22 month sentence deferred for two years upon his release, complete 150 hours of community service, comply with all other environmental regulations that pertain to the Mountain View Grand Resort and its property, and compose and complete an interactive environmental program for future redevelopers. The illegal removal of asbestos can expose people to inhale asbestos fibers which is a know cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis" and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the Criminal and Environmental Protection Bureaus of the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, the Coos County Sheriff, the Carroll County Sheriff, the Whitefield Police Department, the Belknap County Sheriff, the Boston Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's Office and the Massachusetts State Police with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office.

 

May

 

 

05/25/2004  

Bridge Contractor Pleads Guilty to Water Violations in North Carolina
Balfour Beatty Construction, Inc. (BBC), a subsidiary of the United Kingdom company, Balfour Beatty, PLC, pled guilty on May 17 to violating both the Rivers and Harbors Act and the Clean Water Act. In its plea, BBC admitted to illegally acting without an Army Corps of Engineers permit in Oct. 2002, when it dredged a portion of the Croatan Sound in North Carolina, and discharged the dredged spoil into the Sound. The violations occurred when BBC's employees removed a temporary load-out trestle that had been constructed in shallow waters near Manns Harbor. The construction was part of the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge project, which built a five-mile bridge spaning the Croatan Sound from Manns Harbor to Manteo, N.C. In order to get a crane to the trestle site, BBC employees used backwash from a tugboat propeller to cut a channel next to the bridge trestle. As a result, 5500 cubic yards of dredged spoil was expelled from the channel and deposited on 8.2 acres of habitat on the sound bottom. Croatan Sound has been designated as high quality waters by the federal government because it is an essential area for spawning fish and/or wildlife. Covering such a habitat with spoil can damage fish and wildlife. When sentenced, BBC faces a maximum penalty of up to $200,000 and/or up to five years probation on each count. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

05/25/2004  

Pennsylvania Company Pleads Guilty in Multi-State Wastewater Pollution Case
The PQ Corporation of Valley Forge, Pa. pled guilty on May 13 to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) at its plants in St. Louis, Mo., Chester, Pa., and Baltimore, Md. by improperly discharging wastewater into public sewers and surface waters. The previous charges filed in three Federal Districts against PQ were combined into one case in Maryland court. According to the plea agreement, PQ will pay a $450,000 fine, provide $60,000 in restitution to the City of Baltimore, $47,000 to the Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority, serve three years probation and pay $50,000 to fund community service projects. PQ's facilities manufacture a variety of inorganic chemicals including water-soluble sodium silicates that are used in detergents, silica gel, adhesives and catalysts. The March 2004 charges claimed that PQ discharged wastewater in violation of applicable CWA pretreatment requirements from its St. Louis and Chester facilities into sewer systems operated by Metropolitan St. Louis and Delaware County. PQ was also charged with discharging wastewater without a CWA permit from its Baltimore facility into U.S. waters. Discharging improperly treated wastewater into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and prevent proper sewage treatment. Unpermitted discharge of wastewater can also harm fish and wildlife and make the waters unsafe for recreational or drinking water purposes. The case was investigated by the Washington, Philadelphia and St. Louis Area Offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Maryland Attorney General's Office, and the Metropolitan Sewer District of St. Louis with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It has been prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Offices in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

05/25/2004  

Pennsylvania Company and Owner Indicted on Water Charges
Chester McNally and his company, Keystone Insulator-Cleaner, Inc.of Bedford, Pa., were indicted May 19 on one charge of conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and two charges of violating the CWA. The indictment alleges that from Sept. 2001 to Apr. 2003, McNally and Keystone conspired with others to dump wastes into Imlertown Run and adjacent wetlands located on McNally's property in Bedford. The indictment further alleges that around Sept. 2001, McNally and Keystone dumped both household waste and waste from the operation of Keystone vehicles into the run and wetlands. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

05/25/2004  

Waste Disposal Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Hazardous Waste Dumping in Alabama
On May 17, Don Milton White, a private contractor from Mobile, Ala., pled guilty to two counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). White contracted with the Escambia County, Fla. Utility Authority to transport and dispose of wastes from its wastewater treatment facility. The wastes included oils, tar, paint wastes, hydraulic fluid and solvents, which are required under RCRA to be disposed of by a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility. Instead, White dumped these chemicals at separate locations throughout Southern Alabama. Of the hundreds of gallons of wastes White illegally discarded, some was highly corrosive liquid regulated as hazardous waste under federal law. Dumping waste oils, fluids and solvents on the ground can create a contamination hazard for humans and wildlife. The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's Emergency Response Branch and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Mobile and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

05/19/2004  

Minnesota Auto Shop Owner Charged in Discharge Case
Robert Steinmetz of Prior Lake, Minn. was charged on May 11 with violating the Clean Water Act. Steinmetz is the former owner of Riverwood Auto, an auto repair firm, and Diamondback Bedliner, a manufacturer of automotive bedliner coatings, both located in Bloomington, Minn. The indictment charges that in Nov. 2003, Steinmetz knowingly discharged wastewater containing petroleum-based chemicals into a storm sewer that feeds into the Minnesota River. Steinmetz also allegedly made a false statement, saying that he only dumped two drums of water. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

05/19/2004  

Minnesota Company and Individuals Indicted in Industrial Wastewater Case
On May 11, Prime Plating, a metal finishing business in Maple Grove, Minn.; Scott Hanson, its owner; and two other individuals, Sam Opare-Addo and Arlynn Hanson, were each charged with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and multiple counts of violating the CWA. The Prime Plating business, Scott Hanson and Opare-Addo were also charged with conspiracy to make a false statement and Opare-Addo was charged with three counts of making a false statement. In June and July of 2003, the defendants allegedly conspired to discharge industrial wastewater from the facility without having a functioning pre-treatment system for its waste, as required by law. During this period, the defendants allegedly discharged untreated wastewater directly into sewers using pumps and garden hoses, and allegedly conspired to hide the illegal discharges from state and federal regulators. Discharging plating wastes into sewers can prevent the proper treatment of sewage at treatment facilities. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

05/19/2004  

Minnesota Company and Individuals Indicted in Sewer Line Case
Hardcoat, Inc., of St. Louis Park, Minn.; its owner, Kenneth Heroux, and George Miklasevics, an environmental consultant; were each indicted on May 11 on charges that they conspired to make false statements regarding a severely corroded sewer line. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to falsely tell state and federal investigators that no problems were discovered during a permit renewal inspection of a sewer pipe used to discharge pre-treated industrial wastes. In reality, the pipe had several breaks through which pre-treated industrial wastes could have leaked. The defendants replaced the pipe, but hid the fact that the pipe had been compromised. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

05/19/2004  

Ohio Company and Officials Sentenced for Illegal Sewer Discharge
Rees Plating Corporation of Stark County, Ohio; John H. Whitacre, Rees Plating's President; and William T. Holland and Thomas R. Whitacre, both Vice-Presidents of Rees Plating, were all sentenced on May 11 for violating the Clean Water Act by discharging hazardous levels of chemicals into public sewers. John Whitacre and William Holland will serve five months in prison, five months home confinement and 19 months of supervised release. Thomas Whitacre will serve six months of home confinement followed by 18 months of probation. In addition, John Whitacre and Rees Plating were each fined $5,000. Thomas Whitacre will perform 200 hours of community service and Rees Plating was ordered to print a public apology in the Canton Repository newspaper. The defendants were previously convicted of discharging unpermitted levels of zinc and chromium into the Massillon, Ohio public sewer system, which can damage sewage treatment equipment and can prevent the proper treatment of sewage. The case was investigated by the Cleveland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Northeast Ohio Environmental Task Force including the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's office of Special Investigations. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland.

05/19/2004  

Two Wisconsin Men Convicted in Illegal Asbestos Removal Case
Michael L. Smith and Lawrence J. Williams, partners in Smith Renovations of Janesville, Wis., were each convicted on May 5 of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by improper removal of asbestos. The jury found Smith guilty of five counts and Williams guilty on one count. In Apr. 2002, Smith Renovations contracted with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb, Wis., to remove asbestos-containing ceiling and flooring material. The defendants hired a licensed asbestos removal firm to remove the flooring, but in July they removed the asbestos-containing ceiling material themselves without following federally-mandated workplace practices. Improperly removing asbestos can cause workers and others entering the work area to inhale airborne asbestos fibers, which is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Each count of violating the CAA carries a maximum prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Madison, Wisc.

05/12/2004  

Corrective Action Smart Enforcement Strategy is Announced
EPA is launching an enforcement strategy to better control human exposure at or near hazardous waste facilities. The Corrective Action Smart Enforcement Strategy (CASES) is an effort to get hazardous waste facilities to address contamination that is potentially harmful to human health. EPA's goal is to have human exposures controlled by 2005 at 95 percent of facilities that were identified in 1999 as high priorities for cleanup under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under Subtitle C, RCRA requires parties who seek a permit to treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste to clean up environmental contaminants at their facilities regardless of the time of the release. The cleanup at treatment, storage or disposal facilities is termed "RCRA Corrective Action. Corrective action at these types of facilities may be accomplished through the permitting and enforcement mechanisms found in the RCRA law, through state programs, or through voluntary agreements. For more information about Corrective Action enforcement, see the compliance website at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/cleanup/rcra/index.html .

05/12/2004  

Department of Justice and EPA Senior Officials to Hold ''Pen and Pad'' Briefing Regarding Major Clean Water Act Settlement
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division; Thomas V. Skinner, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance; and Colm F. Connolly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, will hold a ''Pen and Pad'' briefing Today, Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 1 p.m. EDT to announce a major clean water act settlement. Who: Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division; Thomas V. Skinner, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Colm F. Connolly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware What: ''Pen and Pad'' Briefing When: Today, Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 1 p.m. EDT Where: Main Justice Building Conference Room 2143, Environment and Natural Resource Division 950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530 Note: Reporters interested in attending the event should arrive through the 951 Constitution entrance between 9th and 10th Streets. Reporters interested in participating by telephone should call Blain Rethmeier at 202-514-2007 to register.

05/05/2004  

Colorado Man Sentenced for Illegally Discharging De-Icing Chemical Into City Sewers
David E. Ortiz of Grand Junction, Colo. was sentenced on Apr. 28 to serve one year in prison and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine. Ortiz was previously convicted of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally discharging a de-icing chemical into the city of Grand Junction, Colo.'s storm sewers. Ortiz was the operator for Chemical Specialties, a company that distills the aircraft de-icing chemical, propylene glycol. On May 29 and June 18, 2002, Ortiz discharged industrial waste water containing propylene glycol into the storm sewer, which empties into the Colorado River, resulting in fish being killed in the river. The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and EPA Region 8. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver.

05/05/2004  

Company and Owners Charged with Clean Water Act Violations
Olymco, Inc., a Delaware chrome plating corporation doing business in the Canton, Ohio area, and its owners, Alex Sklavenitis and Nick Koumoutzis, were each charged on April 28 with allegedly violating the Clean Water Act by knowingly discharging industrial wastewater containing chromium into the Canton public sewer system. Discharging chromium into sewer systems can interfere with the proper treatment of sewage, causing surface waters downstream from treatment plant outflows to be unhealthful for fish and wildlife. The contaminated waters can also become unuseable for drinking water and recreational purposes. The case was investigated by the Cleveland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the City of Canton Wastewater Treatment Department. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

05/05/2004  

Connecticut Company Fined $10 Million for Clean Water Act Violations
On Apr. 29, Tyco Printed Circuit Group (TCPG) of Stafford, Conn., a subsidiary of Tyco International, pled guilty to 12 counts of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) for discharge of hazardous pollutants into sewage treatment systems. The plea agreement calls for TPCG to pay a $6 million federal fine, provide $2.7 million to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) natural resources fund, pay $500,000 each to the Towns of Stafford and Manchester to fund sewer and water treatment system improvements, and pay $300,000 to recycle deionized and other wastewater at TCPGs Stafford and Staffordville facilities. Between 1999 and June 2001, TCPG managers at the company's Stafford, Staffordville and Manchester facilities engaged in practices that caused the facilities to discharge wastewater with higher than permitted levels of pollutants into municipal sewage treatment systems. The illegal practices included discarding composite samples with excessive levels of toxic metals, omitting samples with pH levels that indicated non-compliance with permits and improperly diluting samples. Three former TCPG managers, Anthony Dadalt, Robert Smith and Daniel Callahan, await sentencing on separate charges in connection with this case. The case was investigated by the Boston Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut DEP with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Hartford.

05/05/2004  

Phosphorous Manufacturer Fined $18 million in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Case
Rhodia, Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., former operating company of an elemental phosphorus manufacturing plant in Silver Bow, Mont., was sentenced on April 29 for its conviction on two felony counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Rhodia will pay a $16.2 million fine and an additional $1.8 million in restitution to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The company must also serve five years probation, which could be extended if site clean-up is not completed. Rhodia manufactured elemental phosphorus at the Silver Bow plant from 1986 until its closure in 1996. In its previous guilty plea, Rhodia admitted that from Jan. 1999 until Aug. 2000, it illegally stored carbon brick and precipitator dust contaminated with elemental phosphorus waste at the closed plant. Rhodia also admitted that following plant closure, it illegally stored elemental phosphorus sludge at the site in a large concrete tank. Waste elemental phosphorus is highly reactive, can ignite when exposed to air and presents a significant risk to human health and the environment. The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, and with legal and technical assistance provided by EPA Region 8's offices in Denver and Helena, Mont. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Missoula.

 

April

 

 

04/14/2004  

Former Connecticut Economic Development Director Convicted of Asbestos Charges
Michael Saad, former Economic Development Director for the town of Plainfield, Conn. was convicted on Apr. 2 for charges that he knowingly directed the demolition of a building without following federal workplace regulations. Saad advised Edward Carroll to demolish portions of the Manufacturing Building at the Inter-Royal Mill in Plainfield, Conn., knowing that these areas contained asbestos that had not been properly remediated. The failure to remediate asbestos before demolition can cause asbestos fibers to become airborne and be inhaled by workers and the public. Inhaling asbestos fibers is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. When sentenced, Saad 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 the Boston Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Plainfield Police Department with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Haven.

04/14/2004  

Shipping Company Pleads Guilty to Dumping Oily Wastewater at Sea
MMS Co., Ltd, a Japanese company that manages the vessel, Spring Drake, pled guilty on April 5 to four felony charges connected to the dumping of oily wastewater at sea. The case was simultaneously filed in courts in Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Calif., and Los Angeles, Calif.; and the plea was entered in Portland where the ship was boarded. MMS will pay a $2 million fine and must establish an environmental compliance program. In a separate proceeding, Shashank Pendse, the Spring Drake's Chief Engineer, pled guilty to falsifying the ship's oil record book. In Aug. 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard inspected the Spring Drake, which was docked in Portland to load grain, and found evidence of failure to comply with environmental regulations. Charges were then filed against MMS stating that the ship dumped oil and oily sludge at sea through a pipe that bypassed the ship's pollution control equipment. The release of oil at sea can harm fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in Portland, the Coast Guard Investigative Service, and EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from the Washington Department of Ecology. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Offices in Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

04/07/2004  

Former New York Asbestos Contracting Firm and Owners
AAR Contractor, Inc., a former asbestos abatement firm located in Latham, N.Y. and two former AAR owners, Alexander Salvagno of Loundonville, N.Y., and Raul Salvagno of Ormand Beach, Fla., were convicted on March 29 of a ten-year conspiracy (1990-1999) to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. In addition, the jury found that Alexander Salvagno committed multiple acts of obstruction of justice, money laundering, mail fraud and bid rigging under the RICO charge and also convicted him of three counts of tax fraud. AAR was one of the largest asbestos abatement companies in New York State. The Salvagnos used Analytical Laboratories of Albany, Inc. (ALA) to create fraudulent laboratory analyses indicating that buildings remediated by AAR were free of harmful levels of asbestos. In reality, AAR and the Salvagnos had used illegal "rip and run" techniques to remove the asbestos, and released "snow storms" of asbestos in the process. The workers employed by AAR were not provided with proper protective equipment. In addition, dangerous levels of residual asbestos contamination were found by investigators at locations ALA determined were safe. Collusion between AAR and ALA occurred at more than 1,555 New York facilities and involved falsification of up to 75,000 laboratory samples. Improperly removing asbestos and falsely certifying a building to be free of asbestos contamination can lead to workers and other people inhaling asbestos fibers, which can cause lung cancer, the lung disease "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the New York Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the New York State Office of Inspector General. Investigative assistance was provided by the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Department

04/07/2004  

New York Transportation Company Faces $10 Million Fine for Buzzards Bay Oil Spill
On March 29, Bouchard Transportation Company of Hicksville, N.Y. pled guilty to violating the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as a result of an oil spill in Buzzards Bay, Mass. The company admitted that improper operation of the tugboat, Evening Tide, led to a major spill in Buzzards Bay of Number 6 fuel oil, a heavy oil used by ocean liners and tankers as fuel. The spill killed 450 protected birds, necessitated the closure of thousands of acres of the bay's shellfish beds and polluted nearly 90 miles of Mass. shoreline. On Apr. 27, 2003, the tug's Mate piloted the vessel as it entered the bay's channel. The mate left his post and the oil barge being towed by the tug drifted onto rocks outside the channel, damaging the barge and causing oil to spill into the bay. Removal of Number 6 oil from coastal areas is necessary because it degrades slowly, often lasting for years. The oil also harms wildlife by coating birds, smothering intertidal organisms and contaminating sediment. Bouchard Transportation has agreed to pay a $10 million fine, with $7 million going to the North American Wetlands Conservation fund. Of the remaining fine, $2 million will be paid to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and $1 million will be suspended if Bouchard Transportation successfully completes probation and establishes an environmental compliance program. The case was investigated by the Boston Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement with assistance from the U.S. Secret Service, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.

04/07/2004  

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Dumping Oily Water into Sewer
Dennis A. Henman of Ft. Wayne, Ind. pled guilty on March 26 to violating the Clean Water Act by discharging oily wastewater into the municipal sewers of Dayton, Ohio. Henman was a District Manager for Grease Monkey, Inc. an automobile oil change franchise. The defendant did not have a permit from the City of Dayton to discharge the oily wastewater into the sewer system. Unpermitted discharge of oily water into city sewers can create a fire hazard and can prevent the proper treatment of sewage. This creates a hazard to fish and wildlife that depend upon surface waters that are downstream of sewage treatment plant outfalls. The case was investigated by the Cleveland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the Wastewater Division of the City of Dayton and the Montgomery County Sanitary Engineering Department. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dayton.

04/07/2004  

Pennsylvania Company Charged in Multi-State Water Pollution Case
The PQ Corporation of Valley Forge, Pa. was charged on March 25 and 29 with violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) at its plants in St. Louis, Mo., Chester, Pa. and Baltimore, Md. The charges were filed in three courts: U.S. District Court in St. Louis, U.S. District Court in Philadelphia and the U.S. District Court in Baltimore. PQ's facilities use high heat to manufacture sodium silicate from soda ash and sand. The defendant allegedly discharged waste water in violation of applicable CWA pretreatment requirements from its St. Louis facility between Jan. 1997 and Nov. 1999 into the metropolitan St. Louis sewer system, and from its Chester facility between Dec. 1998 and Apr. 2000 into a Delaware County sewer system. The defendant also allegedly discharged waste water from its Baltimore, Md. facility between 1995 and 2000 into waters of the United States without a CWA permit. Discharging improperly treated wastewater into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and prevent sewage being properly treated. Wastewater discharge into surface waters without a permit can harm fish and wildlife and can make the waters unsafe for recreational or drinking water purposes. If convicted on all charges in all courts, the company faces a maximum possible fine of up to $1.5 million. The case was investigated by the St. Louis, Philadelphia and Washington Area Offices of the U.S. EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Maryland Attorney General's Office, and the Metropolitan Sewer District of St. Louis with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The U.S. Attorney's Offices in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Baltimore are prosecuting the case. The filing of federal charges is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

March

 

 

03/24/2004  

Norwegian Shipping Company to Pay $3.5 Million Fine
Hoegh Fleet Services, a Norwegian operator of ocean-going cargo ships, pled guilty on March 17 to seven felony counts of violating federal laws including keeping a falsified Oil Record book, obstructing justice and making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard. Under the agreement, Hoegh must pay $3.5 million in penalties, develop a comprehensive environmental plan for its forty ships that visit U.S. waters, and serve four years probation. According to court documents, the case began in September 2003 when a whistle blower from the crew of the vessel Hoegh Minerva informed authorities that crew members had allegedly used a bypass pipe to route waste oil around the oil-water separator in the ship's pollution control system. Investigators later uncovered evidence indicating that the ship's Oil Record Book contained false entries. Not following pollution control procedures results in oily bilge waste being dumped into the ocean, which can harm fish and other aquatic life. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland Area Offices of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Los Angeles and Portland Offices of U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Washington State Department of Ecology's Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

03/18/2004  

California Auto Dealer Charged with Violating Clean Air Act
Claus Graeter of Somis, Calif., operator of GC Motor Corporation in Oxnard, Calif., was arrested on March 5 on charges that he allegedly conspired to defraud the United States by smuggling and using false statements to import goods into the country, and by making false statements under the Clean Air Act. Graeter's company imported Mercedes Benz Smart Cars and Gelandewagens, BMW Z28s, Range Rovers and other foreign cars. The charges against Graeter allege that these vehicles did not meet American emissions or safety standards, and that the defendant falsely told officials of the EPA, the Customs Service and the National Traffic Safety Administration that the vehicles were for personal temporary use, that they would not be resold and were worth far less than their actual value. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Inspector General's Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

03/18/2004  

Three Idaho Men Indicted in Oil-Based Paint Hazardous Waste Disposal Case
Dennis D. Ellis of Boise, Idaho, Robert Mominee, currently of Salem, Ore., and Paul Woods of Wilder, Idaho, were indicted on March 10 on charges that they allegedly conspired to violate the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Hazardous Materials Transportation and Uniform Safety Act by transporting waste without a permit, transporting it to an unpermitted facility and illegally disposing of the waste. Mominee is also charged with making a false statement to EPA agents. In Jan. 2000, Ellis sold the Ponderosa Paint Company in Boise, Idaho to Kelly Moore Paints for $14 million on the condition that Ellis would dispose of 20,000 gallons of waste oil-based paint remaining at the facility. Instead of paying a licensed hazardous waste disposal company, Ellis allegedly hired Woods and Mominee to illegally dispose of the wastes. Liquid, oil-based paints are flammable and must be disposed of by companies licensed to handle hazardous wastes. If placed into the trash or a landfill, chemicals from the paints may seep into the groundwater and be consumed by animals or people. The indictment alleges that Woods and Mominee took between 3,000 and 4,700 gallons of the paint waste to their Idaho homes in Apr. 2000, and that Woods allegedly burned waste in an open pit behind his house. After EPA agents searched Wood's property in June 2000, Mominee allegedly transferred the paint back to the Ponderosa facility. Mominee then allegedly lied to EPA agents, saying the paint was water-based and had been removed from his property by an unknown painting contractor. The case was investigated by the Portland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of the Idaho State Police, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, the EPA Idaho Operations Office, and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise.

03/10/2004  

California Man Pleads Guilty to Mishandling of Dry Cleaning Wastes
Behzad Kahoolyzadeh of West Los Angeles, Calif., manager of AAD Distribution and Dry Cleaning Services in Vernon, Calif., pled guilty on March 4 to conspiracy, two counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by illegally transporting hazardous waste, and two counts of violating RCRA by illegally storing hazardous waste. According to his plea, in Jan. 2000, Kahoolyzadeh negotiated the purchase of AAD, a company with a long history of hazardous waste violations, with two co-defendants, ADD's President and Vice-President, Homayoun Pourat and Hormoz Pourat. Kahoolyzadeh conspired with the Pourats to hide additional permit violations from inspectors and ordered AAD employees to load trucks with drums filled with dry cleaning wastes that contained perchloroethylene (PERC). The wastes were then unlawfully transported and stored at facilities not permitted for hazardous waste storage. Long-term exposure to PERC can result in neurological problems, liver or kidney damage. Animal studies have also shown PERC to be carcinogenic. Cleanup of the improperly stored wastes cost over $1 million. Kahoolyzadeh faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. Hormoz Pourat previously pled guilty and was sentenced to prison. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the California Environmental Protection Agency's Department of Toxic Substances Control, the City of Vernon, Calif., with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. Portions of the case took place in Colorado, and the Colorado State Attorney General's Office provided assistance. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

03/10/2004  

Chicago Warehouse Owner Pleads Guilty to Illegal Asbestos Removal
On Feb. 26, John D. Crededio, owner of a warehouse in Chicago, Ill., pled guilty to charges that he was responsible for a 1999 illegal asbestos removal project at his warehouse in violation of the Clean Air Act. Specifically, the defendant admitted that he failed to ensure that regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM) was adequately wetted prior to its removal and failed to ensure that removed RACM was kept wet until collected or treated for disposal. Failing to wet RACM can lead to the airborne release of asbestos fibers. Inhaling such fibers is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago.

03/10/2004  

Indiana Man Sentenced to 37 Months for Obstruction of Justice
Donald L. Vacendak of Hammond, Ind., was sentenced on Feb. 27 to serve 37 months in prison followed by three years supervised release, after being convicted of obstructing justice by knowingly threatening to kill a government informant. The informant had provided information alleging Vacendak violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by disposing of an ignitable hazardous waste in a buried railroad tank car in Gary, Ind. Such allegations are investigated because if determined to be true, there could be serious potential fire and ground water contamination hazards. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Hammond, Indiana Police Department; and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management with technical assistance provided by EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Hammond.

03/10/2004  

Three Chicago Area Residents Indicted on Charges of Violating the Clean Water Act
Kanubhai Patel and Manubhai Patel, both of Woodstock, Ill., and Mukesh Patel of Schaumburg, Ill., three owners of New Tech Electronics, Inc., a defunct Illinois electronics parts manufacturing firm, were indicted on March 4 and charged with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA). Kanubhai Patel is also charged with making a false statement on a CWA permit application. The indictment alleges that from approximately Apr. 1997 to Dec. 2001, the New Tech facility violated its CWA discharge permit by discharging higher than permitted concentrations of acidic and caustic wastewater into the town's sewer system through a bypass hose. The illegal discharges, which occurred every one to three weeks, were allegedly diluted in the sewer system by water from a garden hose placed into a manhole hidden from view by a parked car. Discharging unpermitted high levels of acids and caustics into sewers can disrupt the normal processing of sewage and can lead to sewage treatment plant outflows that are harmful to fish and other aquatic life. The Bensenville sewage treatment plant discharges into Addison Creek, which is a protected waterway. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from Bensenville wastewater treatment officials and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

03/03/2004  

Four Individuals Plead Guilty in New York State Asbestos Case
Tom Toporczyk, owner of Topor Contracting, a demolition and asbestos abatement business in Buffalo, N.Y.; William Denton, a manager of Topor; Tina Lopez, Topor office administrator; and Patricia Young, owner of Payco, an Akron, N.Y. firm that conducts pre-demolition asbestos surveys; all pled guilty on Feb. 25 to various state charges that arose from the demolition of two buildings in Buffalo, N.Y. Topor and Denton pled guilty to felony charges of Offering a False Instrument for Filing, Lopez pled guilty to misdemeanor forgery, and Young pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of Offering a False Instrument for Filing. The charges involved falsifying pre-demolition asbestos surveys, which are necessary to verify that asbestos has been removed from the work area. If demolition begins before asbestos-containing material is removed, workers and other people entering the work area could inhale asbestos fibers. Asbestos inhalation is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. In a related civil case, Toporczyk and Young were permanently barred from conducting asbestos abatement work in New York State and Toporczyk was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. The case was investigated by New York State Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the Buffalo Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General's Office, the FBI and the New York Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted under the direction of the New York State Attorney General's Office.

 

February

 

 

02/26/2004  

California Woman Sentenced for Environmental Testing Fraud
Regina Coleman of Inglewood, Calif., operator of a business known as Diversified Environmental Services Inc., in Los Angeles, was sentenced on Feb. 23 to 15 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $303,930 in restitution for her conviction on three felony counts of mail fraud. From 1998 through 2001, Coleman, who falsely claimed to hold a Ph.D., was paid by her clients to obtain samples of industrial wastewater from discharge points in sewers and send them to certified laboratories for analysis. Coleman then provided reports of analyses which the clients used in their discharge permit compliance reports to sanitation districts. Surveillance operations indicated that Coleman used inoperable sampling equipment and therefore did not collect samples for analysis. Instead, she generated false analysis reports and mailed them to her clients, defrauding her clients out of more than $300,000. Accurate discharge information is necessary for permit compliance because discharging excessive levels of industrial pollutants can damage sewage treatment facilities, prevent the proper treatment of sewage and create a threat to surface waters and aquatic life downstream of sewage treatment plant outflows. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

02/26/2004  

Five Individuals Indicted in Virgin Islands Sewer Repair Fraud Case
On Feb. 20, Ashley Andrews, a Virgin Islands (VI) attorney; Ohanio Harris, former Special Assistant to the VI Governor; Alicia Hansen, former VI Senator and her husband Esdell Hansen; and Campbell Malone, a certified public accountant, were all indicted on charges that they conspired to violate federal and territorial laws. The alleged conspiracy included wire fraud, program fraud, bribery, fraudulent claims upon the Virgin Islands and violation of territorial conflict of interest statutes. The indictment alleges that the defendants created a company named Global Resources Management Inc., in order to bid on a contract to repair the St. Croix sewer system. The VI government has been under a consent decree to repair the system since 1984, because the system regularly discharged large quantities of raw sewage into St. Croix streets and into harbors in Christiansted and Frederiksted. The indictment alleges that the defendants illegally conspired to obtain a no-bid contract to conduct the repairs. Several defendants were also allegedly involved in bribery and conflict of interest, and others are accused of submitting fraudulent bills for work done in preparing a contract proposal. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in St. Thomas. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

02/26/2004  

Texas Man Sentenced for Not Reporting Hazardous Waste Importation Scheme
Victor Manuel Arroyo Balderas, warehouse coordinator for Encon Environmental Services, El Paso, Texas; was sentenced on Feb. 12 to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay a $1,500 fine for intentionally not telling authorities about a criminal scheme involving the importation of hazardous waste into the United States in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The scheme began in 1995 and involved the illegal importation of hazardous wastes, including mercury-contaminated soil, into the United States from Mexico. The wastes were illegally stored at several Encon facilities in El Paso. Failing to properly dispose of mercury-contaminated wastes can lead to human contact with mercury which, depending on the amount and variances in individual rates of absorption, can cause severe neurological damage and, in some cases, death. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division's Dallas Area Office, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in El Paso.

02/12/2004  

Asbestos Abatement Supervisor Pleads Guilty in False Training Certificate Case
On Jan. 28, Adrian Whaley, Asbestos Abatement Supervisor at Darcco Environmental Inc., in Jacksonville, Fla., pled guilty to conspiring to make a false statement to the EPA regarding asbestos training certification. The conspiracy involved the use of false asbestos training certificates by Darcco employees during asbestos abatement work conducted at U.S. Naval bases in the Jacksonville area. Darcco provided the certificates to its employees, despite knowing that the employees did not attend the asbestos training courses listed on the documents. Darcco received the false certificates from the Air Analytics Company in Orlando, Fla. Three other defendants, Edward Nunez, owner of Air Analytics and an employee of Darcco; Jerry Carter, owner of Darcco; and Eric Brown, a Darcco Asbestos Abatement Supervisor; each previously entered guilty pleas with respect to this case. Failure to properly train asbestos abatement workers and the use of falsified asbestos training documents can lead to workers being exposed to and inhaling airborne asbestos. Inhalation of airborne asbestos is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease "asbestosis," and mesothelioma, cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Office of Inspector General, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jacksonville.

02/12/2004  

Detroit High School Engineer Indicted in Mercury Contamination Case
George Carl Bush, an engineer at Finney High School in Detroit, Mich., was indicted on Feb. 4 in Wayne County Superior Court on charges that he allegedly violated state law by illegally spreading the toxic chemical mercury in two corridors at the school. The charges allege that on Oct. 11, 2001, the defendant was angry about the allocation of school overtime hours and threatened to close the school if his union issues were not immediately addressed. A few hours later mercury was found spread in two corridors of the school and the building had to be shut down for several days for decontamination. The clothing and/or shoes of a number of students also tested positive for the presence of mercury. The defendant is charged with spreading the mercury and if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. When liquid mercury is spilled, it forms mercury vapors in the air and contaminates surfaces. Human exposure to mercury occurs by breathing vapors, direct skin contact or consuming contaminated food or water. Health problems vary greatly depending on individual tolerance and the amount entering the body, but exposure to mercury in some people may result in neurological damage. The case was investigated by the Detroit Police Department, the Cleveland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality-Office of Criminal Investigations with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and the EPA Region 5 Emergency Response Branch. It is being prosecuted by the State Attorney General's Office in Detroit. An indictment is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

02/12/2004  

Former Saybolt Official Sentenced in Reformulated Gasoline Testing Scheme
Thomas M. Hayes of Rockaway Township, N.J., former Vice-President of Saybolt Inc.'s Western Hemisphere Operations, was sentenced to 57 months in prison on Feb. 5 for conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act (CAA). The defendant was convicted in April 2003 of conspiring to falsify oxygen and other test results on reformulated gasoline, making false statements to the EPA, committing mail fraud and obstructing justice. Between September 1992 and November 1996, the defendant and his co-conspirators falsified reformulated gasoline test results from Saybolt's testing facilities in New Jersey and Woburn, Mass. The falsifications inflated the amount of oxygen that the gasoline actually contained, leading to the possibility that sub-standard gasoline might be sold. The CAA requires that at certain times of the year, gasoline sold in specific markets must be reformulated to contain sufficient oxygen to reduce the levels of pollutants emitted by automobiles. Reducing automobile emissions is important because high emissions lead to high atmospheric ozone levels, which increase the incidence of breathing disorders such as emphysema and asthma. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

02/12/2004  

Report on Environmental Compliance at Federal Facilities Is Available Online
EPA released today "The State of Federal Facilities, An Overview of Environmental Compliance at Federal Facilities FY2001-2002," a biennial report that provides a comprehensive overview of environmental compliance in the federal sector. Results for 2003 will not be available until later this year. The report shows that compliance rates remain near or above 90 percent for regulated federal facilities inspected under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as well as major federal facilities regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Compliance rates for federal facilities remained above 90 percent for federal facilities regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). [For more information]

02/12/2004  

Six Individuals Indicted in Illegal Ocean Dumping of Oil-Contaminated Grain
On Feb. 3, Rick D. Stickle, Chairman and CEO of Sabine Transportation Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Michael R. Reeve, Sabine President; John Karayannides, Sabine Vice-President; Michael M. Krider, Port Engineer; George K. McKay, Master of the SS Juneau; and Phillip J. Hitchens, Chief Officer of the SS Juneau; were each indicted for conspiring to illegally discharge oil-contaminated grain at sea and obstruct a U.S. Coast Guard proceeding. The indictment arose from the improper dumping of approximately 442 metric tons of wheat contaminated with diesel fuel in the South China Sea in February 1999. The wheat was intended for humanitarian relief in Bangladesh but became contaminated with oil while on the ship. Rather than pay for proper disposal, the defendants allegedly hired workers to dump the wheat at sea and falsely claimed it was processed through the ship's pollution control equipment prior to discharge. In fact, the pollution control equipment aboard the ship was not designed to handle this type of waste. Sabine Transportation previously pled guilty in this case and was sentenced. Dumping of oily wastes which have not been properly passed through pollution control equipment can harm fish and aquatic life. The case was investigated by the St. Louis and Jacksonville Area Offices of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

January

 

 

01/29/2004  

Connecticut Based Shipping Company Pleads Guilty to Cover-Up
OMI Corp., a Connecticut-based shipping company, pled guilty on Jan. 21 to preparing false documents to cover up the illegal dumping of thousands of gallons of waste oil and sludge at sea. As part of its plea, OMI agreed to pay a $4.2 million fine and serve three years of probation. In its plea, OMI admitted that from around May to September, 2001, the Chief Engineer of the OMI-operated ship Guadalupe falsified entries in the ship's Oil Record Book, a book that records the handling of oil in a ship's engine room and indicates whether waste oil and sludge have been properly managed. The ship's Captain also participated in the cover-up. The false entries were made because the Chief Engineer had constructed a bypass around the ship's oil-water separator, a pollution control device that prevents waste oil and sludge from being discharged. As a result, large quantities of waste oil and oily sludge were discharged into the ocean, placing fish and other aquatic life at risk. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the New York Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey in Newark and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 / ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

01/29/2004  

Ohio Rubber Company and President Plead Guilty to Clean Air Act Violations
William R. Mullins, President of Mullins Rubber Products (Mullins Rubber) Inc., of Riverside, Ohio; and his company each pled guilty on Jan. 16 to violating the Clean Air Act (CAA). Mullins pled guilty to four counts of making false statements when reporting airborne discharges of a solvent containing TCE, which was used by the company to degrease machines. Mullins Rubber Inc. pled guilty to one count of failing to submit a CAA Title V air discharge permit by an October 1996 deadline. From 1998 to 2001 Mullins Rubber Inc., underreported the amount of this TCE solvent used at their facility and also failed to apply for required discharge permits. Falsely reporting the amount of solvents released into the air can cause air pollution levels that may cause distress to individuals with respiratory problems. The plea agreement calls for Mullins to pay a $350,000 fine and provide an extra $50,000 to the Pulmonary Medicine Division of Children's Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. Mullins Rubber Inc. has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine pursuant to its plea. Final acceptance of both pleas will be determined by the Court at the time of sentencing. The case was investigated by the Cleveland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dayton.

01/23/2004  

Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Illegal Storage of Phosphorus Waste in $18 Million RCRA Case
On Jan. 14, Rhodia Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., former operator of a phosphorus manufacturing plant in Silver Bow, Mont., pled guilty to two felony counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing phosphorus contaminated waste and sludge. In its plea, Rhodia agreed to pay a $16.2 million criminal fine, $1.8 million in restitution to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, clean up pollution at the closed facility, and serve probation for five years or for the duration of the cleanup, whichever is longer. This sentence is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. Rhodia manufactured elemental phosphorus from 1986 until the plant's 1996 closure. In its plea, Rhodia admitted that from January 1999 until August 2000, it illegally stored carbon brick and precipitator dust contaminated with elemental phosphorus waste, and also admitted that it illegally stored elemental phosphorus-contaminated sludge. Waste elemental phosphorus is highly reactive, can ignite when exposed to air and presents a significant risk to human health and the environment. The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and legal and technical assistance from EPA Region 8 in Denver. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Missoula. Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 / ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

01/23/2004  

Ohio Man Sentenced for Falsifying Clean Air Act Permit Application
John D. Littlehale of Terrace Park, Ohio, former Vice President for Manufacturing of the Multi-Color Corp., was sentenced on Jan. 13 to 18 months in prison, a $4,000 fine and 50 hours of community service for falsifying an application for a Title V permit under the Clean Air Act. From approximately July 1997 to January 1998, Multi-Color's Scottsburg, Ind., Label Division illegally operated a rotogravure printing press (known as press #3) without an air pollution control device, allowing the press to vent approximately 100 tons of pollutant-laden emissions directly into the atmosphere. The pollutants included volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants and other chemicals contained in inks, solvents and adhesives. Venting these pollutants into the air can cause people who live near the plant and who have respiratory illnesses to suffer an increase in adverse respiratory symptoms. In a related matter, Roger Taylor, former plant manager of the Scottsburg Label Division from 1996 to 1998, was sentenced to six months of home detention, five years of probation and 500 hours of community service for failing to report Littlehale's illegal activities to authorities. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of the Indiana Interagency Environmental Crimes Task Force of the Southern District of Indiana. It was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

01/23/2004  

Wyoming Man Indicted for Clean Water Act Violations Affecting Indian Lands
John Hubenka, of Riverton, Wyo., was indicted on Jan. 14 on charges that he allegedly built unpermitted dikes in Wyoming's Wind River in violation of the Clean Water Act. The indictment charges that between March 1999 and November 1999, Hubenka performed dredging and construction to build three earthen dikes in the river without a proper permit. In the process he allegedly used earth moving equipment to discharge rock, sand and other dredge and fill material into the river. The alleged result was a change in the river's course that cut off approximately 300 acres of tribal land from the reservation. Separating tribal land from an Indian reservation can create an economic burden on tribal members who wish to use the land for agricultural or other economic purposes, and unpermitted discharge of dredge and fill material into rivers can harm fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with legal support from EPA Region 8 in Denver. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cheyenne. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.


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