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Innovative Chemical Sentenced For Criminal Violations of the Clean Water Act

Release Date: 12/01/1998
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(#98163a) New York, New York -- U.S. Attorney Denise E. O'Donnell and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator Jeanne M. Fox announced today the conviction and sentencing of Innovative Chemical Corporation, 55 Woodbridge Drive, Amherst, New York, for two felony violations of the Clean Water Act.

U.S. Attorney O'Donnell indicated that Innovative Chemical was fined $15,000 and was required to pay approximately $35,000 for the installation of equipment to monitor future discharges from its facility. In addition, the company was required to reimburse the Town of Amherst $25,000 for the cost of its investigation. The company was placed on probation for a period of three years.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Gromis, who handled this case, Innovative Chemical had pled guilty to two violations of the Clean Water Act for knowingly discharging wastewater, on June 11, 1996 and October 3, 1996, which had a pH lower than 4.0 into the Amherst, New York Wastewater Treatment Plant. Under the Clean Water Act, wastewater with a pH lower than 5.0 is generally prohibited from being discharged into a wastewater treatment facility because it is too corrosive.

U.S. Attorney O'Donnell explained that after being alerted in 1996 by the town of Amherst of possibly improper discharges by Innovative Chemical, the EPA conducted covert sampling at sewer pipes from the company's facility. The results of the sampling were then used as one of the bases for the execution of a search warrant at Innovative Chemical on October 3, 1996.

According to Jeanne Fox, "Innovative Chemical thought that it was above the law and now it is paying the price. This should serve as a message to would-be violators that the federal government will and does aggressively pursue those that ignore the law."

The conviction of Innovative Chemical was the culmination of an investigation on the part of the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge William Lometti and Resident Agent-In-Charge Douglas Knorr. The EPA was assisted by the New York State Attorney General's Office, the Internal Revenue Service, the Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Amherst Engineering Department.


For more information contact:
Mary Mears, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3669 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: mears.mary@epamail.epa.gov