FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2005
ENRD (202) 514-2007|
EPA (404) 562-8327
TDD (202) 514-1888
MAURY COUNTY RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATING CLEAN WATER ACT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Thomas Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departmentís Environment and Natural Resources Division; Jim Vines, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee; Fred Burnside, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; Louis Huttenbach, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General; and My Harrison, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Memphis Division, announced that Milton W. Beard, a resident of Maury County, Tennessee, entered a plea of guilty today to a two count information charging him with negligently discharging pollutants into waters of the United States.
According to the terms of the plea agreement entered into by the parties, upon approval of Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Higgins, Beard will be placed on three years probation, fined $35,000, and required to pay restitution in an amount not to exceed $1,500. A special condition of Beardís probation will be that he not violate any federal, state, or local environmental laws. Sentencing is scheduled for June 20, 2005.
Assistant Attorney General Sansonetti stated that the plea today demonstrates that ďthe government will vigorously enforce the Clean Water Act and all laws designed to protect human health and the environment.Ē
According to the statement of facts agreed to by the parties and read in open court by Special Agent David Logue of the EPA, Mr. Beard owned and operated Blackjack Ridge Dairy in Sante Fe, Tennessee. Because the dairy had 400 cows, Beard was required to obtain a permit to discharge pollutants under the Clean Water Act, which he obtained. In response to a citizenís complaint in December 2000, inspectors from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) went to the dairy and discovered a pipe leading from the dairy that was discharging pollutants, which consisted of contaminated wastewater and milk washwater, into a tributary of Lick Creek, a water of the United States, and not into Beardís animal waste management system as required. Again in response to a citizenís complaint, a TWRA inspector went to the dairy in late February 2001 and observed a discharge of pollutants-contaminated wastewater-from a field on which Beard was spraying animal waste. The waste was running off the field into a tributary of Dog Creek, a water of the United States. The next day, inspectors from TWRA and TDEC observed animal waste and waste solids running from the same field into the tributary of Dog Creek. During the plea hearing, Mr. Beard admitted he was negligent in spraying and in not having the pipe connected to his waste management system.
This case is being jointly prosecuted by the Justice Departmentís Environmental and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorneyís Office. Also providing assistance in the investigation are the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.