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Washington State Chemical Plant Manager Pleads Guilty

Release Date: 10/24/1997
Contact Information: Jeff Philip
philip.jeff@epamail.epa.gov
(206) 553-1465 1-800-424-4EPA


October 24, 1997

On Oct. 14, James V. Bucco, the former plant manager for CH2O Inc. in Olympia, Wash., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle to one count of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and four CWA counts of illegally discharging chemical wastes into a sewer.

CH2O produces boiler treatment chemicals, concentrated janitorial supplies and other chemical products. Bucco admitted that between 1992 and 1995 he illegally disposed of wash water from chemically contaminated drums returned by CH20 customers. The wash water was flushed into a line illegally installed in a sewer cleanout in a warehouse in downtown Olympia, causing contamination to the local publicly-owned treatment works. The illegal dumping was discovered in February 1995 when a worker at the local treatment plant was overcome by fumes apparently caused by the dumping. Three other CH2O employees have also pleaded guilty for their roles in this illegal operation.

The prosecution was the result of a joint investigation by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the City of Olympia Police Department, and the Washington State Department of Ecology with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.