FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
SOUTH CAROLINA COMPANY & VICE PRESIDENT OF FIRM PLEAD GUILTY
TO VIOLATING CLEAN WATER ACT
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The vice president of Tin Products Inc. of Lexington, South Carolina entered a plea of guilty for himself and on behalf of the corporation for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). James H. Goldman Jr. pleaded guilty to knowingly discharging and causing company employees to discharge organotins wastewater to the Lexington County Joint Municipal Water and Sewer Commission treatment works. Organotins are used for plumbing pipes, glass coatings and fixtures and the discharges are toxic to aquatic life.
The discharge occurred from July 1999 until February 2000 and was in violation of Tin Products' industrial user discharge permit. The organotins contamination passed through the treatment facility into Red Bank Creek. The publicly owned treatment works was eventually forced to shut down due to the illegal discharges it was receiving from the company.
An indictment against Goldman and the company was returned in May 2002 charging the defendants with one CWA conspiracy charge and six substantive CWA violations. Goldman entered a guilty plea for himself and on behalf of the corporation to one count of violating the Clean Water Act. The government agreed to dismiss the remaining counts of the indictment.
Goldman faces a potential prison sentence of up to three years for violating the Clean Water Act and a criminal fine of the greater of $250,000 or $5,000 to $50,000 per day of violation. Tin Products faces a potential criminal fine of up to the greater of $500,000 or $5,000 to $50,000 per day of violation.
"Knowingly polluting our water supply will not be tolerated," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "We will continue to vigorously prosecute such offenders."
Previously, Melanie Purvis, the corporation's environmental supervisor, pled guilty in June 2002 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act. George Metts, a wastewater operator at the facility, also pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act in November 2002. Trial of James Goldman and Tin Products was scheduled to begin on January 27, 2003.
"Today's guilty pleas shows that the United States Attorney's Office is fulfilling its commitment to vigorously enforce our nation's environmental laws, as they apply to corporations and persons. We will not stand by and allow the effects of pollution to stain the environment of our state, where all live and work. We will continue to be vigilant and proactive in prosecuting those who betray the public trust and our natural resources." said U.S. Attorney J. Strom Thurmond, Jr. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office along with the Justice Department's Environmental Crimes Section. Its investigation was conducted by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Office of Criminal Investigation and the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigative Division.