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PA OHIO MAN CHARGED WITH WATER VIOLATIONS
Release Date: 09/11/98
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1998
OHIO MAN CHARGED WITH WATER VIOLATIONS
Ronald M. Merckle of Zanesville, Ohio, was indicted on Sept. 3, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus, on 37 counts of violating the Clean Water Act. Merckle was vice-president, treasurer, and a co-owner of the TCW Co. of New Lexington, Ohio. TCW had a contract with Muskingum County, Ohio, to manage its sanitary engineering department and six wastewater treatment plants. The indictment charges that between May 1993 and November 1996, Merckle, who also served as county sanitary engineer, failed to report the correct levels of ammonia, fecal coliform bacteria and other pollutants discharged from the six plants on 33 occasions. He also allegedly allowed pollutants to be discharged on four other occasions. Contact with waters that have high levels of fecal coliform bacteria can cause a variety of infectious diseases in people and waters with high levels of ammonia are harmful to fish and other aquatic life. If convicted, Merckle faces a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison and/or a maximum fine of up to $10,000 on each false statement count and up to three years in prison and/or a maximum fine of up to $50,000 on each illegal discharge count. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Special Investigations Unit and Ohio Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Investigations.