United States Attorney David Capp
Northern District of Indiana
M01-204 S. Main Street
South Bend, IN 46601
Hammond South Bend Fort Wayne
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mary L. Hatton June 7, 2011 PHONE: (219) 937-5603 www.usdoj.gov/usao/inn/ Fax: (219) 852-2770GUILTY PLEA ENTERED BY LOCAL MINT PROCESSOR
South Bend, IN—The United States Attorney's Office announced:Michael Materna, 56, of Hamlet, Indiana, pled guilty before Magistrate Judge Christopher Neuchterlein to an Information charging him with knowingly discharging pollutants without a permit in violation of the Clean Water Act.
Materna, doing business as Materna Mint Farms ("Materna Mint"), has been a mint grower and processor of mint oil in Walkerton, Indiana. Under the direction and control of Michael Materna, Materna Mint harvests mint leaves and distills them to create mint oil. Each 55 gallon drum of mint oil extracted in the mint stilling process is worth more than $10,000. As part of the still processing, boilers create steam that is injected into mint tubs to extract the mint oil. As part of the mint oil processing by Materna in the summer of 2010, water that was heated to temperatures of 160 - 190 degrees Fahrenheit and amounts of mint oil were repetitively discharged from the Materna facility into a roadside ditch approximately 1/10 of a mile long and then into “Robbins Ditch,” which is a permanent stream and water of the United States. Materna discharged the heated water and oil (pollutants) into the waters without an National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") discharge permit and in violation of applicable temperature limits.
Sentencing has been set for September 1, 2011 at 1:30 PM before Judge Jon DeGuilio.
These charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Donald Schmid.
The specific sentence in each case to be imposed upon conviction will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.