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CWA CrimeBox
Environmental Crimes Historic Conviction:  Fiscal Year 2023; Case ID# CR_3449(California)
Environmental Services company attempts to trick the system, nets $100,000 fine for acid discharges

June 3, 2024 415 pm EDT

One of 72 Clean Water Act Criminal Prosecutions in the State of California (from 1989-2023)

The defendants in this case are an environmental services and reclamation company and key personnel permitted to receive and process contaminated industrial wastewater. The defendants held a discharge permit for the treated effluent stream, whereby successfully removal of the contaminants would render the effluent acceptable for release to the public sanitary sewer. As part of the discharge permit, the defendants were obliged to test the effluent to ensure the discharge meets the national Clean Water Act thresholds.

The federal district court was presented with information to the Clean Water Act violation, that the defendant knowingly falsified test results by placing the test probe in a sample of clean water, recording the clean water results in the logs presented to the permitting authorities. The true measure was determined to have a pH 3.0, a non-compliant acid wastewater stream hazardous to the equipment and staff in the public sanitary sewer treatment plant. The defendants plead guilty to CWA violations, sentenced to a federal fine and three years of probation.

Federal Fine: $100,000; Probation: 36 months; Special Assessment: $800

CWA CrimeBox briefs are compiled from EPA Criminal Enforcement records.

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