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PA TWO SAN ANTONIO MEN SENTENCED FOR THE DISCHARGE OF HAZ.WAS

Release Date: 10/4/96
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PA TWO SAN ANTONIO MEN SENTENCED FOR THE DISCHARGE OF HAZ.WAS

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1996

OWNER OF SAN ANTONIO PLATING COMPANY BARRED; COMPANY AND TWO SAN ANTONIO MEN SENTENCED FOR THE DISCHARGE OF HAZARDOUS WASTES

On Sept. 27, Ray H. Phipps, owner of River City Plating in San Antonio, Texas, was barred from the plating business for life as part of his sentence for violating the Clean Water Act. River City Plating, Phipps' son Russell Phipps, and employee, Keith Krupalla, were also sentenced for felony violations of various federal laws that arose from River City's unlawful discharge of pollutants into the San Antonio city sewer system. In addition to being barred from the plating business, Ray Phipps who previously pleaded guilty to onecount of violating the Clean Water Act, was also sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, one year supervised release and a $5,000 fine. River City Plating, which previously pleaded guilty to onecount of violating the Clean Water Act, was sentenced to pay a $100,000 fine and received five years probation. Russell Phipps, who had previously pleaded guilty to failing to inform the government of felony violations of the Clean Water Act by River City Plating, was sentenced to three years of probation, 40 hours of community service and a $500 fine. Keith Krupalla, who previously pleaded guilty to one felony count of perjury for making false statements in front of a federal grand jury, was sentenced to 12 months in jail and three years supervised release. River City Plating was an electroplating and metal finishing facility which re-plated a variety of objects, including automobile parts, bumpers, silverware, trays and brass pots. Although the operators of River City Plating were aware of the restrictions placed upon the discharge of wastewater created during these processes, they admitted to periodically disposing of untreated plating wastewater containing metals including nickel, chromium, copper, and zinc directly into the city sewer system during 1993. The elder Phipps also admitted that he had falsely informed the City of San Antonio Water System that River City Plating was a "zero discharger." Discharging hazardous wastes into sewers can present significant public health risks and risks of damage to sewers and sewage treatment facilities. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission's Special Investigations Division with the assistance of the Texas Environmental Task Force.

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