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OHIO COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATING THE CLEAN WATER ACT

Release Date: 12/13/99
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FOR RELEASE: MONDAY, DEC. 13, 1999
OHIO COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATING THE CLEAN WATER ACT

TCW Corp. of Perry County, Ohio, pleaded guilty on Dec. 3 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus to violating the Clean Water Act. TCW had a contract with Muskingum County, Ohio, to manage the county’s sanitary engineering department and run the county’s West Muskingum, Crestmont/Lebar, Stonehenge, Vista View, Ash Meadows and Lakeland Hills wastewater treatment plants. Ronald Merckle, half owner of TCW, and William Rhoad, a project engineer for TCW, were both convicted of submitting false reports to the Ohio EPA. In his guilty plea, Rhoad admitted that he under-reported or failed to report correct levels of ammonia and fecal coliform bacteria in water discharged from the plants over a three and one-half year period. In sufficient quantities, ammonia is harmful to fish and other aquatic life, and high levels of fecal coliform in water presents a risk of intestinal and other infections in humans. When sentenced, TCW faces a possible fine of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and was prosecuted by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for
the Southern District of Ohio.

R-148 ###