Former Ceo Of New London Manufacturing Company Sentenced For Clean Water Act Violation
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Tyler Amon, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, and Commissioner Robert Klee of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced that THOMAS H. FARIA, 38, the former chief executive officer and president of Faria Limited, LLC, doing business as Sheffield Pharmaceuticals, was sentenced today in Hartford federal court for violating the Clean Water Act. U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson ordered FARIA to serve three years of probation, perform 300 hours of community service and pay a $30,000 fine.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the Clean Water Act requires that every company obtain a permit from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (“CT DEEP”) before it can discharge its industrial wastewater to the public sewage system, commonly known as the publicly owned treatment works (“POTW”). Companies are also required, among other things, to test and monitor their industrial wastewater monthly to ensure that the chemical levels in the wastewater do not exceed federal and state limitations.
Sheffield Pharmaceuticals (“Sheffield”) has a factory at 170 Broad Street in New London that manufactures a wide range of over-the-counter pharmaceutical creams, ointments and toothpastes. From approximately 1986 to July 2011, Sheffield discharged industrial wastewater from its New London manufacturing operations to the New London POTW without a permit and in violation of Connecticut’s approved pretreatment program. The New London POTW discharges to the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut. During this entire time period, Sheffield lacked a pretreatment system at its factory to treat its industrial wastewater prior to discharge to the New London POTW, performed no regular monitoring of its discharges of industrial wastewater, and submitted no monthly monitoring reports to the CT DEEP.
After becoming the company’s president and chief executive officer in April 2003, FARIA soon learned through his own employees that Sheffield was discharging pollutants considered toxic under federal environmental law in its industrial wastewater without the required permit. FARIA also learned that in order to obtain a permit from CT DEEP, the company would have to install, at significant expense, a wastewater pretreatment system that would pretreat its industrial wastewater prior to discharging it to the New London POTW. Although FARIA’s own employees urged him to make the financial investment to bring the company into compliance, FARIA chose not to do so. FARIA continued this illegal course even when four environmental consulting firms, which the company had hired, advised him that the discharge of industrial wastewater to the public sewage treatment system, without a pretreatment system and CT DEEP permit, is illegal.
On April 20, 2011, the CT DEEP conducted an unannounced inspection of Sheffield. After finding that the company had no wastewater discharge permits, the CT DEEP inspector issued a Notice of Violation and cited the company for discharging manufacturing and laboratory wastewater without a permit. On or about May 27, 2011, Faria Limited, LLC submitted a permit application to CT DEEP so that the company could legally discharge industrial wastewater from its New London facility into the New London POTW. By July 2011, the company had installed a wastewater pretreatment system at its factory to pretreat the pollutants contained in its industrial wastewater prior to its discharge to the New London POTW.
“Managers of Connecticut factories who knowingly violate federal and state environmental law risk federal prosecution and a felony conviction,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “The Clean Water Act applies to every industrial entity doing business in Connecticut. This Office will vigorously prosecute corporate officers whose decisions and actions threaten Connecticut’s natural resources and harm the public’s right to a clean environment. We recognize and thank the EPA and DEEP for their invaluable work in protecting the environmental integrity of Connecticut’s rivers and the Long Island Sound.”
“This defendant engaged in a longstanding scheme of illegally dumping millions of gallons of untreated pollutants to the sewer system over a period of seven years,” said EPA Special Agent in Charge Amon. “As the top executive, Defendant Faria cheated the public utility and undercut his competitors all while his employees and consultants were telling him to follow the law.”
“This case sends a clear signal that intentionally violating the environmental laws and regulations of Connecticut will not be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “The U.S. Attorney’s office aggressively prosecuted this case and has brought it to a successful conclusion. I commend their efforts.”
On July 8, 2014, FARIA waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly violating, or causing to be violated, the Clean Water Act. As a condition of his guilty plea, FARIA resigned from the company on March 7, 2014, and shall have no role in the operations or management of Faria Limited. He now resides in Portland, Oregon.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Kenyon.
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