News and Press Releases

st. joseph company sentenced for dumping pollutants
into city's wastewater system

June 3, 2011

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

Oak Mill, Inc., and its vice president, Robert Arundale, 82, of San Diego, Calif., were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs on Thursday, June 2, 2011, to five years of probation. Under the terms of their plea agreements, Oak Mill and Arundale jointly agreed to pay a fine of $50,000 over a five-year period. The court also ordered them to pay $4,000 in restitution to the city of St. Joseph.

On Nov. 30, 2010, Oak Mill pleaded guilty to two counts of the intentional unlawful discharge of pollutants. Arundale pleaded guilty to one count of the negligent unlawful discharge of pollutants.

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.

This case was 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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