Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Sparks, Nevada-Based Company Charged with Violating the Clean Water Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Greg Street Plating, Inc.—an electroplating, metal plating and finishing company based in Sparks, Nevada—was charged in a one-count indictment with discharging highly acidic waste into the sewer system that leads to the Truckee Meadows Sewage treatment facility, in violation of the Clean Water Act, the Justice Department announced today.

The indictment alleges that on late Saturday night April 12, 2003 or early Sunday morning April 13, 2003, an unknown employee of Greg Street Plating dumped highly acidic waste into the sewer system. The acid discharge reached the sewer treatment plant, setting off warning alarms. The operators of the treatment plant acted quickly and efficiently to isolate and neutralize the acid waste, thereby avoiding the possibility of substantial damage to the facility. The source of the discharge was initially identified as Greg Street Plating by investigators from the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.

As part of the metal plating process, Greg Street allegedly generated hundreds of gallons of rinse wastewater each week, contaminated with heavy metals and having a pH of less than 5.0. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pretreatment Standards include a prohibition against sending any wastewater with a pH lower than 5.0 to any state or municipality-owned treatment works unless specific accommodations are made.

The wastewater from Greg Street was supposed to be treated in a closed loop evaporation system and none of the wastewater from the plating process was permitted to be discharged into the sewer system. The indictment alleges that Greg Street generated hazardous waste acid solutions with a pH of less than 5.0 and hazardous waste plating solutions with a pH less than 5.0. Greg Street had a permit to discharge domestic wastewater into a sewer system but was prohibited from discharging any industrial waste, including plating wastes, into the sewer system.

This case is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of United States Environmental Protection Agency out of the San Francisco office. The case is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada, Reno Division.

Charges in an indictment are merely accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in federal court.