WASHINGTON, D.C. – David Inskeep pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor violation of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Inskeep, former manager and operator of the Inwood Dairy located in Elmwood, Illinois, pleaded guilty to one count of negligently discharging pollutants into waters of the United States without a permit. Sentencing is set for July 13, 2006.
Inskeep managed the Inwood Dairy and its 1,250 dairy cows and operated a waste management system consisting of a lagoon designed at full capacity to hold approximately 40 million gallons of waste generated by the animals. The system used water to flush cattle manure and waste water from the barns to a central collection point; waste was then pumped to the lagoon for storage until it could be lawfully removed.
“Mr. Inskeep had many opportunities to lawfully dispose of the waste, but chose instead to disregard them and violate the Clean Water Act by discharging millions of gallons of waste generated by the dairy operation into nearby tributaries,” said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The defendant’s actions introduced pollutants into the environment and he now faces the consequences of his actions.”
According to the plea agreement, on February 14, 2001, an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) official observed that the waste level in the Inwood Dairy lagoon was three inches from the top of the berm wall and advised Inskeep to stop pumping waste in to the lagoon. The following day, another IEPA official allegedly found the lagoon was completely full with the pump still operating. Despite the official’s request to turn off the pump to prevent an overflow and discharge into a local tributary—and subsequent flow to the West Fork of Kickapoo Creek—Inskeep refused to turn off the pump. Inskeep failed to hire waste haulers to remove the waste, and he ultimately decided to pump more than a million gallons of animal waste from the lagoon to a tributary located on his property—despite the fact that he was told by state regulators that such action was illegal.
Inskeep pleaded guilty to one count of negligently discharging pollutants (animal waste) into waters of the United States without a permit, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. Per the terms of the plea agreement, Inskeep could receive up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $30,000.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the EPA and IEPA and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Trial attorney Mary Dee Carraway of the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tate Chambers are prosecuting the case.