News and Press Releases

st. joseph company pleads guilty to dumping pollutants into city's wastewater system, will pay $50,000 federal fine

November 30, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a St. Joseph, Mo., company and its vice president pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally discharging pollutants into the city’s wastewater treatment system in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Oak Mill, Inc., represented in court by its vice president, Robert Arundale, 81, of San Diego, Calif., pleaded guilty to two counts of the intentional unlawful discharge of pollutants. In addition, Arundale pleaded guilty to one count of the negligent unlawful discharge of pollutants. Under the terms of today’s plea agreements, Oak Mill and Arundale jointly agreed to pay a fine of $50,000.

Oak Mill is a St. Joseph company that reclaims soybean oil for resale and in the process uses acid to remove vegetable oils from tanker trucks. Arundale admitted that Oak Mill violated the provisions of its city-issued wastewater permit, which limits the type of wastewater that can be discharged into the public treatment facility.

Oak Mill and Arundale violated federal pretreatment standards relating to zinc and nickel when they discharged wastewater into the city’s wastewater treatment system on two separate occasions in October 2006. Permit limits for zinc are 3.00 mg/l and .99 mg/l for nickel. On Oct. 5, 2006, the zinc level resulting from the discharge by Oak Mill was 20.9 mg/l, and nickel was 2.47 mg/l. On Oct. 12, 2006, the zinc level resulting from the discharge by Oak Mill was 19.6 mg/l, while nickel was 2.94 mg/l.

Arundale admitted his negligence in failing to correct the zinc and nickel discharges from Oak Mill, which were excessive and violated federal law.

Oak Mill and Arundale have paid $5,000 of the total $50,000 fine, and must pay the remaining $45,000 over a five-year period in equal monthly installments of $750.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the city of St. Joseph, Mo.



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