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Maryland Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Sentenced for Clean Water Act Sampling Violation

Release Date: 3/11/2003
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the sentencing of Scott W. Sellars, the operator of wastewater treatment plants at the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge, for negligent violation of pollution monitoring and reporting conditions required in the plants’ Clean Water Act permits.

On March 7 in federal district court in Baltimore, Sellars was sentenced to three years probation, fined $2,000 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service. Sellars was charged on Dec. 6, 2002 and he pleaded guilty on Jan. 2, 2003.

Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge, located in Prince Georges and Anne Arundel Counties, Md., is operated by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of the U.S. Department of the Interior. FWS contracts with Chesapeake Analytical Laboratory, Inc. in Stevensville, Md., to operate wastewater treatment plants serving educational, research, and other facilities at Patuxent. These plants have Clean Water Act permits, issued by the state of Maryland, allowing the discharge of treated wastewater into a tributary of the Patuxent River.

From late 1998 to early 2002, Sellars operated the Patuxent wastewater treatment facilities as a subcontractor for Chesapeake Laboratories. The government charged that in July and August of 2001, Sellars or his employees negligently failed to perform daily pollution testing required by the plants’ Clean Water Act permits.

The multi-agency investigation was led by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office Environmental Crimes Unit, with assistance from the FBI, Naval Criminal Investigation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.