EPA Clean Water Act enforcement news roundup
The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water has released several news items regarding the enforcement of Clean Water Act cases.
Dec. 1, 2003 -- The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water has released several news items regarding the enforcement of Clean Water Act cases.
Indiana plant operator sentenced to 46 months in prison
David Van Dyke of Warsaw, Ind., was sentenced on Nov. 18 to serve 46 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for his conviction on three counts of violating the Clean Water Act.
Van Dyke was the certified operator of the Warsaw, Ind., wastewater treatment plant which discharges into Walnut Creek, a tributary of the Tippicanoe River. Van Dyke altered and falsified a lab report which was submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
The defendant also falsified records of the sewage plant's weekly limit for carbonaceous biological oxygen demand, ammonia, total suspended solids and E-coli bacteria. In addition, Van Dyke ordered employees at the facility to use diesel fuel at the plant to reduce foaming without reporting that practice to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Rather than pay for sludge disposal, the defendant ordered that sludge be recirculated within the plant. This killed the plant's biological treatment system, leading to the release of untreated sewage into the creek. Testimony at trial indicated that thousands of fish were killed in Walnut Creek in 2002 as a result of these activities.
Wildlife also disappeared from the creek area during the discharges and local residents complained of the stench. Approximately 22,000 cubic yards of sewage sludge remains in Walnut Creek as a result of the improper operation of the facility.
The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (Chicago) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Bend.
Connecticut man pleads guilty to Clean Water Act violation
Daniel R. Callahan of Broad Brook, Conn., pled guilty on Nov. 17 to violating the Clean Water Act 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.
Tyco Printed Circuit Group 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. Callahan assisted in the fabrication of reports submitted in 2001 to DEP. The reports failed to include the fact that a "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, if passed through sewage treatment plants, can harm fish, aquatic life, wildlife and humans who come into contact with copper-contaminated surface waters downstream from sewage treatment facilities.
When sentenced, Callahan faces a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (Boston) and the Connecticut DEP with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Bridgeport.
Arkansas man charged with conspiracy in cleanup fraud case
Dwayne M. Breaux of Searcy, Ark., was charged on Nov. 12 for allegedly conspiring with others to commit mail fraud with respect to an environmental cleanup that was never performed. Breaux was formerly a manager for Entergy-Arkansas, a subsidiary of Entergy Corp., which provides power in parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
The charges allege that the defendant conspired in 2000 with George L. Martin and his environmental services company, Latico International Inc., located in Walker, La., to falsely bill Entergy-Arkansas for environmental cleanup that did not take place. Entergy sent Latico a check for $114,410 to pay the false bill.
If convicted, Breaux faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. This case is being jointly investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (New Orleans) and the FBI with assistance from EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baton Rouge. 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.