Boston - The owner of Charlton Welding and Repair, Inc. was sentenced today for violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Larry McKissick, II, 43, of Charlton, was sentenced today by Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal to 12 months of probation, including four months of home detention and ordered to pay a fine of $75,000. In addition, McKissick must submit a written public apology within two weeks of sentencing, at his own expense, to the Boston Globe Metro West Edition, or Worcester Region Edition or Worcester Telegram and Gazette. He must also complete a Spill Prevention and Countermeasures training course. Restitution was not part of McKissick’s plea agreement, as authorities are pursing it through a separate process under the Clean Water Act.
McKissick is President of Charlton Welding, which operates a trucking and plowing company on Griffin Road in Charlton. In October 2012 McKissick plead guilty to negligently discharging a harmful quantity of oil, namely diesel fuel, into or upon the navigable waters of the United States. On June 11, 2010, McKissick washed diesel fuel off of the parking lot at his business property after realizing that the fuel had been released from a storage tanker parked on the property. It is estimated that 3,200 gallons of diesel fuel were released from the storage tank and washed into a tributary stream connected to the Quinebaug River. The fuel spill caused impacts to the wetlands and residents of a nearby housing complex, and triggered a six-month cleanup response by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) costing more than $680,000.
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz said, “The federal Clean Water Act is one of the most important tools we have in our ongoing effort to protect our natural resources. Mr. McKissick’s negligence impacted important wetlands and tributary stream, and that could have been much worse, if not for the outstanding clean up efforts of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. I want to thank the EPA and Mass DEP for their ongoing commitment and partnership in our mutual mission to preserve our precious wetlands and waterways.”
“Mr. McKissick’s efforts to conceal the spill resulted in its spread to a larger area,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Washing the spill into the nearby wetland created noxious fumes that endangered nearby residents and greatly complicated the immediate clean up actions performed by MassDEP. This case shows the legal consequences that follow from trying to evade responsibility for spills to the environment.”
“Today’s sentencing underscores EPA’s commitment to ensure that fuel is stored safely and in a manner that will protect the environment. Mr. McKissick chose to ignore all responsibility and instead flush thousands of gallons of spilled diesel into a brook,” said John Gauthier, Acting Special Agent in Charge of EPA-CID.
United States Attorney Ortiz, Acting SAC Gauthier and Commissioner Kimmell made the announcement today. The Mass DEP oversaw extensive cleanup efforts within the wetlands and their Environmental Strike Force assisted in this investigation as well. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anton P. Giedt of Ortiz’s office.