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California Food and Beverage Company and Vice President Charged with Illegal Sewer Discharge
Release Date: 11/12/2004
Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(11/12/2004) Triple H Food Processors Inc., of Riverside, Calif., and Richard J. Harris, the company's vice president, were both charged on Oct. 28 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles with violating the Clean Water Act by allegedly discharging acidic wastewater with a pH level below 5 into Riverside's sewer system. In a plea agreement which is subject to court approval, Triple H agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation for discharging the pollution and to a second violation for knowingly failing to manually monitor its pretreatment system for pH. Harris agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for negligently discharging a pollutant. According to the charges and the plea agreement, employees of Triple H violated the company's discharge permit on several occasions by knowingly discharging wastewater with a pH below 5. If the court accepts the plea, Triple H will pay a $750,000 fine, serve three years probation and upgrade its pretreatment system. Under the agreement, Harris will spend three months in home confinement as part of three years probation and will also pay a $50,000 fine. The agreement also calls for both defendants to pay a total of $11,480 in restitution to the City of Riverside, and hire an environmental consultant and a new employee to run the company's pretreatment system. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Water Quality Control Plant of the Riverside Public Works Department. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. The filing of federal charges is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they are proven guilty in a court of law.