News Releases By Date
1. KOPPERS INDUSTRIES PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN AIR ACT AND CLEAN WATER ACT CRIMES, 2. OHIO DRUM CLEANING COMPANY OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION, 3. EXECUTIVES CHARGED AND CORPORATIONS PLEAD GUILTY TO POLLUTION CONSPIRACY TO HIDE OIL DISCHARGES AT SEA, 4. HOUSTON BARGE CLEANING COMPANY SENTENCED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION, 5. TEXAS CHEMICAL PLANT MANAGERS SENTENCED FOR VIOLATING THE CLEAN AIR ACT, 6. CONNECTICUT MAN PLEADS TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION, 7. CONNECTICUT MAN PLEADS TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION
Release Date: 08/28/2002
Following are some Agency developments which may interest you. If you need
more information on any of these subjects, call the appropriate contact.
FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2002
Robin Woods firstname.lastname@example.org
KOPPERS INDUSTRIES PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN
AIR ACT AND CLEAN WATER ACT CRIMES
Koppers Industries Inc., of Philadelphia, Pa., pleaded guilty on Aug. 22 to two felony violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and one felony violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) in U.S. District Court for the Northen District of Alabama in Birmingham. The convictions resulted from releases of hazardous air and water pollutants, which exceeded permitted limits, at the company’s coke production and coal by-products facility in Dolomite, Ala. The facility was later dismantled in 1998. Koppers operated a waste-water treatment plant at the Dolomite facility and also had a storm-water discharge point source permit, which required it to limit the amount of ammonia in its water discharges. The company also was required to submit discharge monitoring reports to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) indicating the level of pollutants contained in its water discharges based upon test results. Koppers admitted that its employees had allowed the discharge of wastewater, which exceeded the permitted level of ammonia in January 1997. In March 1997, its employees knowingly submitted a false report to ADEM which understated the level of ammonia contained in the discharge to conceal the fact that Koppers had violated its permit limits. The CAA violation occurred when a gas blanketing system at the Dolomite facility was improperly operated from April 1-11, 1997. If accepted by the court, the plea calls for Koppers to pay a $2.1 million fine, pay $900,000 in restitution and community service and implement an environmental compliance program at its plants in the United States. The release of ammonia to surface waters can significantly harm fish and wildlife and exposure to benzene is a known cause of cancer. Daniel Bell of Birmingham, Ala., Koppers’ former Environmental Manager, previously pleaded guilty to a CWA felony charge. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Birmingham and the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section.
GUILTY TO CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATION
Ronald A. Korman, owner of Barrel and Drum Service Inc., in Cincinnati, pleaded guilty on Aug. 13 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati to violating the Clean Water Act. The defendant admitted that, beginning in 1995, his company regularly dumped untreated caustic wastewater into the Cincinnati public sewer system without a permit. In addition, Korman filed semi-annual reports with the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) which falsely stated that he was not discharging unallowed wastes into the sewers. In February 2001, MSD employees detected high pH levels in the sewer system and traced the pollution back to the Barrel and Drum facility. These levels were as high as pH 13 during the time that Barrel and Drum was in operation. Discharging highly caustic wastewater into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and can kill bacteria necessary for the proper treatment of sewage in sewage treatment plants. When sentenced, Korman faces a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the MSD and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Cincinnati.
POLLUTION CONSPIRACY TO HIDE OIL DISCHARGES AT SEA
On Aug. 22, in Seok Yang, Gum Hyang Kwon and Young Min Han, all executives of Boyang Maritime Yeong Shin Deep Sea Fisheries Co. of Pusan, Korea, were indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in Anchorage for their alleged roles in an ocean pollution conspiracy involving the direct discharges of oil from a fleet of large, refrigerated cargo ships that regularly travel through Alaska waters. The indictment charges the individuals of conspiracy to lie to the U.S. Coast Guard in order to conceal the dumping of waste oil from the ships and to obstruct the investigation of the agency and the grand jury. On the same date, Boyang Maritime, Boyang Limited, Trans-Ports International and Oswego Limited all pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, to being part of a wide-ranging conspiracy designed to hide routine discharges of oil sludge and oil contaminated bilge waste directly into the ocean from their fleet of ships since at least 1995. Each company pleaded guilty to a 10-count felony information charging that they worked together to maintain false log books, obstruct justice and tamper with witnesses in order to avoid the expenditure of time, money and other resources that would have been required to comply with the laws designed to prevent oil pollution from ships. If the plea is approved by the court, the corporate defendants will pay a $5 million fine, institute and pay for a comprehensive court-monitored environmental compliance plan and serve five years on probation. One million dollars of the fine will be directed to go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, an area that encompasses the Aleutian Islands. In addition, they will be required to set aside $500,000 in an escrow account as an initial funding for the cost of implementing the environmental plan. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office in Anchorage and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice in Washington.
Western Towing Co. of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to pay a $30,000 fine on Aug. 23 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Western Towing formerly operated a barge cleaning operation in Houston. Between May and September 2000, Western Towing used river water to pressure-wash the cargo compartments of barges used to transport dry cargo such as steel products, grain, gravel, sand, fertilizer and gypsum. The company had a CWA discharge permit which allowed it to discharge treated wastewater into the river, however the defendant did not treat the wastewater first. Discharging untreated barge cleaning wastewater into surface waters can harm fish and aquatic life and can make river waters unsuitable for recreational and drinking water use. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Houston Police Department’s Environmental Investigations Unit. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston.
Jeffrey L. Jackson, former plant manager for the Huntsman Chemical Plant in Port Arthur, Texas, and Michael Peters, Huntsman’s former environmental manager and a former regional manager for the Texas Air Control Board, were sentenced on Aug. 15 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Beaumont for their previous conviction on charges of conspiracy, making a false statement to the EPA and violating the Clean Air Act. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the defendants illegally allowed benzene to be emitted from a tank that held benzene-contaminated wastewater at the Huntsman facility. The defendants were also convicted of conspiracy to not inform EPA and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission of the benzene releases from the tank, a damaged flare and leaking process equipment. Finally, Jackson and Peters were convicted of falsifying a document to EPA concerning their activities. The emissions from the wastewater tank occurred after it had been struck by lightning on Nov. 2, 1995. The lightning caused a fire that damaged seals on the tank roof. The defendants failed to empty the tank or repair it within 45 days as required by law. They also did not keep the tank filled to the top, which is required to prevent benzene vapor pockets from forming in the tank. The result of their actions was the airborne emission of benzene, which is a cancer-causing chemical. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center, USEPA Region VI personnel, the FBI, the Special Investigation Unit of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department working in coordination with the Texas Environmental Crimes Task Force. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Beaumont.
SENTENCED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT CONSPIRACY
For conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act, Lakeview Packing Co. of Snowhill, N.C., was sentenced to pay a $75,000 fine and serve five years probation on Aug. 5 in U.S. Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Greenville. Lakeview Packing is a hog slaughter and processing company. In its previous plea, the defendant admitted that it conspired with its employees to intentionally discharge processing wastes from its facility through a drainage pipe into Tyson Marsh which empties into Contentnea Creek, which is a tributary of the Neuse River. The amount discharged averaged approximately 30,000 gallons per day. The discharge of animal processing wastes into surface waters can make them unsafe for drinking and recreation and can promote the growth of microorganisms such as pfisteria which can be harmful to fish, wildlife and humans. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Greenville.
Anthony Dadalt of Enfield, Conn., pleaded guilty on Aug. 5 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford to violating the Clean Water Act by exceeding pollutant limits in a wastewater discharge permit. Dadalt was formerly the Health and Safety manager at a printed circuit board manufacturing facility operated by the Tyco Printed Circuit Group in Manchester, Conn. Tyco Printed Circuit Group is a subsidiary of Tyco International. One of Dadalt’s duties was to operate the wastewater treatment facility at the Tyco facility in Manchester. From November 2000 through May 2001, Dadalt used a bypass to knowingly route wastewater produced in the manufacturing process around a sand filter that was supposed to remove impurities from the wastewater before it was discharged into the Manchester sewers. As a result, the wastewater discharged from the factory exceeded the levels of copper and lead allowed in the factory’s discharge permit. Copper and lead are both toxic metals which can, if passed through sewage treatment plants, harm fish, aquatic life, wildlife and humans who ingest contaminated surface waters downstream from sewage treatment facilities. When sentenced, Dadalt faces a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Bridgeport.
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