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Louisiana Plant and Plant Manager Plead Guilty to Releasing Hazardous Chemicals into U.S. Waters

Release Date: 03/31/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(03/31/04) Industrial Zeolite Ltd., and Emanuel Anthony Drouin, manager of the Industrial Zeolite plant located in LeCompte, La.; both pled guilty on March 18 to charges arising from the unpermitted release of pollutants into U.S. waters. The defendants pled guilty to violating the Clean Water Act on Dec. 31, 2002 by knowingly releasing 1.1 million gallons of wastewater containing sodium hydroxide and aluminosilicate into a ditch connected to the Callahan Bayou which feeds into the Red River. In addition, Industrial Zeolite pled guilty to violating the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act between Dec. 26, 2002 and Jan. 6, 2003, by failing to report the release of up to 84,000 gallons of wastewater containing approximately 5,505 pounds of sodium hydroxide and approximately 2,000 pounds of aluminosilicate. The defendants also face charges by the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office for state environmental violations. Sodium hydroxide is a highly caustic substance. The release of this chemical or aluminosilicate into surface waters can harm fish, wildlife, and aquatic life and make surface waters unsafe for human recreation and drinking. The case was investigated by the New Orleans Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Louisiana.