A cleanup fraud resulted in guilty pleas of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a maximum 20-year felony offense, and to other environmental crimes.
Aaron Smith of Northville, Mich., and Steven Carbeck of Ann Arbor, Mich., pleaded guilty to violating RICO on Feb.6. In addition, Smith's company, Hi-Po, Inc., an environmental consulting firm, formerly based in Ypsilanti, pleaded guilty to twice violating the Clean Water Act. Hi-Po admitted intentionally releasing diesel fuel into a storm sewer and a pond in Ann Arbor in order to fraudulently claim the cleanup of illegal releases and to fraudulently receive cleanup payment from the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Smith, Hi-Po's owner, and Carbeck, Hi-Po's Field Operations Manager, admitted that they illegally did profit from Hi-Po's unlawful activities. Smith's RICO plea covered the underlying acts of illegal money laundering, mail fraud and bribery of a public official. Carbeck's RICO plea covered the underlying offense acts of money laundering and mail fraud.
Smith agreed to forfeit $500,000 in profits he obtained through
his illegal activities. He also faces a maximum of up to 20 years
in prison and/or a $250,000 fine when sentenced as a result of
his plea. Carbeck faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in
prison and/or a $250,000 fine when sentenced. Hi-Po faces a
maximum fine of up to $50,000 per day of violation. The case was
investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI
and the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety. The
U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit is prosecuting the case.
NEW JERSEY COMPANY SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL WASTE STORAGE IN TEXAS
Eurecat U.S., Inc., a New Jersey company, was sentenced Jan. 30 to a $25,000 fine and a $150,000 community service payment to the Houston Environmental Crime Unit (HECU).
Eurecat had pleaded guilty to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by unlawfully storing hazardous benzene waste without a permit at its facility in Pasadena, Tex. Benzene is a known carcinogen.
The $150,000 community service payment will be used to strengthen
the HECU's ability to enforce prohibitions of criminal violations
of environmental laws in the Houston area. The case was
investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and was
prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston.
TENNESSEE FIRM AND OFFICERS PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGAL WASTE DISPOSAL
Simpson Construction Company of Cleveland, Tenn.; Claude S. Simpson, Simpson Construction's President; and Ralph E. Hicks, foreman at Simpson Construction; all pleaded guilty on Jan. 30 to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Simpson Construction specializes in the construction of roads and bridges. The defendants admitted that they illegally burned hazardous solvent and paint wastes in a pit at the company's facility in May 1998. When sentenced, Claude Simpson faces a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and Ralph Hicks a maximum sentence of one year. Simpson Construction and Claude Simpson have also agreed to pay a total of $867,320.83 in fines and funding of remediation and supplemental environmental projects. The company also will have to develop and implement an environmental compliance plan.
The case was investigated by members of the Eastern Tennessee
Environmental Crimes Task Force, including EPA's Criminal
Investigation Division, the FBI, the Tennessee Valley Authority
Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative
Service, the Bradley County Sheriff's Department, the Tennessee
Highway Patrol's Criminal Investigation Division, the Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee Department of
Environment and Conservation. It is being prosecuted by the U.S.
Attorney's Office in Chattanooga.
PENNSYLVANIA COMPANY AND MANAGER CHARGED WITH CWA VIOLATIONS
Kam Industries, Inc., of Warrington, Pa., and its former general manager, Robert Perkins of Horsham, Pa., were both charged on Feb.15 with one count of making false statements to regulatory authorities and with two counts of violating the pretreatment standards of the Clean Water Act (CWA). These charges were connected with Kam's alleged unlawful discharge of pollutants into the Warminster Township Municipal Authority (WTMA) sewer system from Oct.1995 to May 1999.
Kam is a machine shop operation that manufactured and processed machine parts made primarily of steel and aluminum. Kam was notified in 1995 by the WTMA that since it was an industrial waste user of the sewer system, it was required under the CWA to obtain an Industrial User Permit. Kam did not apply for the required permit until Oct. 1998. It is alleged by the federal government that after being issued a permit, the company and Perkins, between Dec.1998 and May 1999, violated the permit's conditions by discharging various pollutants in excess of the local limits. It is further alleged that the two defendants made false statements to the WTMA, by claiming on its permit application that no chemical compounds containing metals or inorganics would be discharged into the WTMA Treatment Works.
If convicted on all three counts, Kam faces a maximum $1,500,000
fine, and Robert Perkins faces a possible maximum sentence of 11
years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $750,000. This case was
investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, with
assistance from the Warminster Township Municipal Authority, and
it is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
WATER9 WASTEWATER TREATMENT MODEL SOFTWARE IS NOW AVAILABLE
WATER9 is a Windows-based computer program and consists of analytical expressions for estimating air emissions of individual waste constituents in wastewater collection, storage, treatment, and disposal facilities; a database listing many of the organic compounds; and procedures for obtaining reports of constituent fates, including air emissions and treatment effectiveness.
WATER9 is a significant upgrade to the computer programs WATER8, Chem9, and Chemdat8. WATER9 contains a set of model units that can be used together in a project to provide a model for an entire facility. WATER9 is able to evaluate a full facility that contains multiple wastewater inlet streams, multiple collection systems, and complex treatment configurations. WATER9 provides separate emission estimates for each individual compound that is identified as a constituent of the wastes. The emission estimates are based upon the properties of the compound and its concentration in the wastes. To obtain these emission estimates, the user must identify the compounds of interest and provide their concentrations in the wastes. The identification of compounds can be made by selecting them from the database that accompanies the program or by entering new information describing the properties of a compound not contained in the database.
WATER9 has the ability to use site-specific compound property information, and the ability to estimate missing compound property values. Estimates of the total air emissions from the wastes are obtained by summing the estimates for the individual compounds.
Visit http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/software/water/index.html to
download WATER9. Contact the Air Emissions Model Hotline at
(919)541-5610 for support or more information.
NEW FEATURE: UPCOMING DEADLINES
Each week in the tip, we'll begin including upcoming Federal regulatory deadlines that may impact your facility. The regulatory reference will be included to help you determine applicability in cases where you're not sure or you need more information in order to comply.
Be sure to check here first to find out what to add to your to do list for the next few weeks. (While helpful, please note that this list may not be inclusive of all deadlines affecting your facility and should not be relied upon as your only source of information.)
March 1, 2001: All hazardous waste exporters must submit an annual report. (40 CFR 262.56(a))
March 1, 2001: Annual reports are due from primary exporters of hazardous waste. (40 CFR 262.87(a)-(b))
March 1, 2001: Annual groundwater monitoring reports are due. (40 CFR 265.94(a)(2)(ii)-(iii) and 40 CFR 265.94(b)(2))
March 1, 2001: Tier I or II reports are due from facility owners and operators subject to 40 CFR 370, Subpart B. (40 CFR 370.20(b)(2) and 370.25(a))
March 1, 2001: Employers may remove the posted summary of 2000 occupational injuries and illnesses. (29 CFR 1904.5(d)(1))
March 15, 2001: Annual reports are due from facilities conducting
hazardous waste treatability studies. (40 CFR 261.4(f)(9))
FORM R TOXIC CHEMICAL RELEASE INVENTORY FORM NOW AVAILABLE
EPA's TRI Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reporting forms and instructions for reporting year 2000 (due July 1, 2001) are now available online. You can download the forms at http://www.epa.gov/tri/report.htm. Automated TRI Reporting Software can be downloaded at http://www.epa.gov/tri/atrs/.