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PA LOUISIANA WORKERS PLEAD GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 11/20/98
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1998

LOUISIANA WORKERS PLEAD GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

Ritchie Romero and Willard Bufford of Abbeville, La., and Chris Mouton of Kaplan, La., pleaded guilty on Nov. 5, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Lafayette, La., to violating the Clean Water Act. All three men were employees of Intra Coastal Liquid Mud Inc. (ILM), a Louisiana company that supplied oil companies with drilling mud and provides barge cleaning services. ILM previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges arising from discharging wastes from barge cleaning directly into the Vermillion River between 1992 and 1998. Romero and Bufford, directed other employees to illegally discharge the wastes at various times between 1992 and 1998. Mouton participated in the violations between 1992 and 1994. Over the six-year period, hundreds of thousands of gallons of pollutants, including oil and mud, were discharged into the river. The discharge of mud, oil and wash waters can harm aquatic life and make surface waters unsuitable for drinking water use. When sentenced, the defendants face a maximum of up to one year imprisonment per count and/or fines between $2,500 to $25,000 per day of violation. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

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