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Ohio Gas Company Admits to Illegal Sewer Systems Discharge

Release Date: 06/18/2003
Contact Information:

John Millett, 202-564-7842 or

(06/18/03) On June 9, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Biogas Energy, L.P., which operates a methane gas recovery and recycling plant in Dayton, pled guilty to two counts of negligently discharging wastewater containing ignitable methane condensate into the Montgomery County Sewer System, and two counts of negligently discharging without a permit. According to the plea agreement, on March 3 and March 14, 2000, the Moraine Fire Department responded to complaints of residents about a “foul odor” in the sewer lines at Biogas’ plant in Dayton. The situation was investigated by the Fire Department, the Ohio EPA, the U.S. EPA and other agencies. It was also independently investigated by Biogas. All parties agreed that the odor was due to the release of methane from Biogas. Releasing methane into sewers creates a fire and explosion hazard. The plea agreement recommends that Biogas pay a penalty of $100,000 per count. Biogas also agreed to pay $50,000 to the Wellfield Protection Program as a community service to benefit the Children’s Water Festival in Dayton. The exact penalty will be determined by the Court at sentencing. The case was investigated by members of the Dayton Environmental Crimes Task Force, EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and the Ohio EPA. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.