April 24, 2024
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CWA CrimeBox
Environmental Crimes Historic Conviction:  Fiscal Year 1998; Case ID# CR_769(Ohio)
Hit and run oil slick on the Little Miami River solved

One of 56 Criminal Prosecutions in Ohio under the Clean Water Act (from 1989-2021)

In July 1996 Cincinnati Fire Department discovered an eight mile oil slick on the Little Miami River, tracing it back to the source, a pipe running through Whiskey Creek, a tributary of the Little Miami River originating at an oil-filled trench. The EPA Criminal Investigations Unit collected evidence pointing to the likely source of the oil slick and cause of the discharge being heavy rain causing the oil to rise in the trench, discharging through the pipe.

A Cincinnati-based steel company was found to be the owner of the offending oil trench and pipe. The steel company was charged with a single count violation of the Clean Water Act.

The defendant, the president of the steel company entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to a federal fine, three years probation and restitution payments totaling $25,000. Restitution was divided between two organizations with an interest in the Little Miami River. Fifteen thousand was delivered to Little Miami Inc. for the purchase of research equipment supporting water quality in the river. Another $10,000 was paid to Thomas More College Ohio River Biology Field Station, for purchase of equipment for the laboratory there. The defendant was further required to spend $350,000 on community projects to improve wastewater treatment, a large fine for the times and a clear signal of the serious impact of the incident.

Federal fines: $25000; Restitution: $25,000 Probation: 36 months; Community projects: $350,000

CWA CrimeBox briefs are compiled from EPA Criminal Enforcement records.

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