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Release Date: 08/09/96
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On Aug. 7, the Justice Department, working with EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) as part of the West Virginia Environmental Crimes Task Force, filed criminal charges in six cases in federal courts in the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia. Violations of the Clean Water Act are charged in five cases, and range from filing false reports about pollution discharges to dumping raw or partially treated sewage and other pollutants into West Virginia waterways. The case involving charges under the Clean Air Act alleges knowing violations of federal regulations governing the safe handling and disposal of asbestos-containing materials during demolition and renovation activities. Below are descriptions of the charges:

O Reliance Realty Inc. and owner Denny Moore were charged with five violations of the Clean Water Act for allegedly discharging fecal coliform bacteria from a private wastewater treatment plant which served a subdivision in Muncy, W.Va. The plant's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit allowed the discharge of treated wastewater into Pigeon Creek, a tributary of Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. The indictment alleges that Moore and Reliance Realty knowingly violated their permit limitations in May 1994, knowingly allowed the discharge of fecal coliform after the expiration of the NPDES permit in October 1994, and knowingly failed to submit required discharge monitoring reports from January to October 1994. By early 1995, the treatment plant was inoperable and apparently abandoned by the defendants. However, raw sewage allegedly continued to flow from the plant into Pigeon Creek and onto adjacent property. If convicted, Moore faces a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $1.25 million or $50,000 per day of violation. Reliance Realty faces a maximum fine of $2.5 million or $50,000 per day of violation, if convicted.

O Billy Joe Jones, former operator of the wastewater treatment facility at the Colin Anderson Center, in St. Mary's, W. Va., was charged with 17 criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. The indictment alleges that in 1992, Jones knowingly bypassed the wastewater treatment system at the Center and discharged approximately 65,000 gallons of raw sewage directly into the Ohio River. The indictment further alleges that Jones made false statements concerning the facility's operations to inspectors and that he also made false statements in the facility's discharge monitoring reports regarding the analysis of discharge samples. Jones faces a maximum of three years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $250,000, if convicted on counts one and two; a maximum of two years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, if convicted on counts three through fifteen; and up to five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, if convicted on counts sixteen and seventeen.

O The city of Elkins, W.Va., pleaded guilty to a one count of discharging landfill leachate directly into a tributary of the Tygart Valley River in violation of the Clean Water Act. City employees took leachate from ponds at the Elkins/Randolph County Landfill and pumped it into the river in December 1995. The leachate was supposed to be hauled to a sewage treatment plant to have pollutants removed prior to discharge. The United States Attorney is recommending that the city pay a fine of $5,000.

O SAK Environmental Inc. of Sistersville, W.Va., and its owner Frederick Q. Blizzard of New Martinsville, W.Va., were indicted on three counts of violating the Clean Air Act for the alleged improper removal and dumping of asbestos in West Virginia and Ohio. One of the counts claims that asbestos-containing material was improperly removed during the demolition of the L.S. Good building in Wheeling, W. Va. Blizzard and SAK are further accused of dumping the demolition waste containing asbestos in wooded areas of Tyler County, W.Va. Blizzard may receive up to 15 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $750,000, if convicted on all counts. SAK Environmental faces a maximum fine of up to $1.5 million, if convicted on all counts.

O Bentley Mathers Knight, a laboratory technician formerly employed at the City of New Martinsville, W.Va., wastewater treatment plant, was charged with knowingly making false statements on reports of wastewater laboratory analysis required under the Clean Water Act. The indictment alleges that in April 1996, Knight falsely reported laboratory analyses for total suspended solids, fecal coliform and biological oxygen demand in daily and weekly reports required under the treatment plant's NPDES permit. It is alleged that these required tests were not performed and that Knight knew this when he wrote the reports. Knight could receive a maximum term of two years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $250,000, if convicted.

O Alum Creek Apartments Limited Partnership was charged with negligently violating the Clean Water Act. The Partnership owns the Alum Creek Apartments which has an on-site sewage treatment facility in Lincoln County, W.Va. The defendant is alleged to have negligently violated the facility's NPDES permit by discharging wastewater containing fecal coliform levels greater than that allowed in the permit. If convicted, the partnership faces a maximum fine of $200,000.

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