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Indiana Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Pleads Guilty

Release Date: 09/05/2003
Contact Information:

Teresa Libera 202-564-7873 /

(09/05/03) David Van Dyke of Warsaw, Ind., pled guilty on Aug. 25 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in South Bend to three counts of violating the Clean Water Act. Van Dyke was the certified operator of the Warsaw, Ind., Wastewater Treatment Plant which discharges into Walnut Creek, a tributary of the Tippicanoe River. Van Dyke altered and falsified a lab report which was submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. He also admitted that the sewage plant’s weekly limit for Carbonaceous Biological Oxygen Demand was violated, and that he ordered employees at the facility to use diesel fuel at the plant to reduce foaming without reporting that practice to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Testimony at trial indicated that thousands of fish were killed in Walnut Creek between late July and early August 2002 as a result of these activities. In addition, approximately 22,000 cubic yards of sewage sludge remains in Walnut Creek as a result of the improper operation of the facility. When sentenced, Van Dyke faces a maximum sentence of up to eight years in prison. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and it is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Bend.