News and Press Releases

Daniel Vanacker Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on June 30, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, DANIEL VANACKER, a 49-year-old resident of Oregon, appeared for sentencing. VANACKER was sentenced to a term of:

Probation: 1 year

Special Assessment: $25

Fine: $2,500

VANACKER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to a violation of the Clean Water Act.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Smith, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

VANACKER is a heavy equipment operator based out of Oregon. He was hired by an Oregon developer to build a pond near the confluence of Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River as part of a planned residential development.

In the course of building the pond, water began to accumulate where they were excavating. In order to continue working, VANACKER and others pumped water from the bottom of the pond excavation to a ditch that ran to the Clark Fork.

On May 6, 2006, the water that VANACKER and others pumped from the pond excavation was laden with sediment. This sediment-laden water flowed from the pump, into the ditch, and into the Clark Fork River. The pumps and the ditch are point sources, and the Clark Fork River is a water of the United States. The sediment is a pollutant. The discharge created a large plume of brown, sediment-laden water in the Clark Fork River.

On May 6, 2006, several witnesses saw the plume of brown sediment-laden water in the Clark Fork, and several witnesses reported it to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

One individual chartered an airplane and took aerial photographs of the plume of sediment-laden water.

The investigation was conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



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