COMPANY AND OPERATOR SENTENCED FOR VIOLATION OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT FOR DISCHARGING OILY WASTEWATER INTO THE HARVEY CANAL
OAKMONT ENVIRONMENTAL, INC., 646 Peters Road, Harvey, Louisiana, was sentenced today by U. S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman to three (3) years probation and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000., for the illegal discharge of 1,200,000 gallons of oily wastewater directly into the Harvey Canal from September 2007 to March 2008, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
OAKMONT pled guilty on November 9, 2011 to one count Bill of Information for violation of the Clean Water Act admitting that it had a permit which allowed OAKMONT to discharge wastewater into the Jefferson Parish publicly owned sewerage treatment plant only after it had been pretreated by OAKMONT. OAKMONT was supposed to separate the oil from the water through an oily water separator system. The separated oil was to be shipped to a recycling plant while the pretreated wastewater was to be discharged through the Jefferson Parish sewerage system. However, instead of pretreating the wastewater, OAKMONT installed a discharge hose in the rear of its facility and discharged the oily wastewater directly into the Harvey Canal, a water of the United States.
In a related case, CLIFTON P. KARR, age 62, from Amite, Louisiana, was also sentenced today by U. S. Magistrate Judge Daniel E. Knowles, III, to three (3) years probation with a special condition of that he serve thirty (30) days home detention. KARR was ordered to pay a fine of $3,000.
KARR, the operator of the OAKMONT facility in Harvey, Louisiana, pled guilty on November 9, 2011, to a one count misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act for the negligent discharge of oily wastewater from the OAKMONT facility. KARR admitted that he knew that the facility he operated did not have a permit to discharge wastewater into the Harvey Canal. He knew that OAKMONT did not have the ability to process the waste properly because the original owner had not installed the proper equipment and that he had no place to store the waste. KARR admitted that he discharged the oily wastewater into the Harvey Canal.
"Today's sentence demonstrates the United States' steadfast commitment to safeguarding public health and the marine environment. We applaud the many environmentally responsible companies and operators, but will hold non-compliant companies and operators accountable for violating environmental laws. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of the Department of Justice, the Coast Guard investigators, Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for bringing this case to proper resolution," said Rear Adm. Roy A. Nash, Eighth District Coast Guard Commander.
“ This was a senseless discharge into the Harvey Canal and eventually the Mississippi River. The environment suffered because of someone’s bad decision.,” said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. “Once again, we see that teamwork pays off for the good of the environment when we work with our state, federal and local partners in finding and charging people who disregard environmental regulations. Hopefully, these successes will serve as a deterrent to others who violate environmental regulations.”
The cases were investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality-Criminal Investigative Division and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dorothy Manning Taylor.
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