U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit Announces New Reporting Method for Environmental Violations & Environmental Justice Concerns
COEUR D'ALENE - The Rooter Guy, LLC, and its founder Ben Broyles, 62, of Hayden, Idaho, were sentenced today in federal court for violating the Clean Water Act, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. The Rooter Guy, LLC was sentenced to three years organization probation. Ben Broyles, the majority owner and operator of The Rooter Guy, LLC was also sentenced to three years of probation. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered that Broyles and his corporation pay a $17,000 fine and $4,000 in restitution to the City of Hayden, and to perform 100 hours of community service. Guilty pleas were entered on November 18, 2015.
According to the plea agreements, between March 17, 2014, and May 16, 2014, the defendants violated the Clean Water Act by pumping septic waste into the City of Hayden’s municipal sewer system operated by the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board. Although The Rooter Guy LLC is licensed to collect septic waste from commercial and residential customers, it is required to dispose of septic waste at facilities designed to collect and treat waste in accordance with environmental considerations and EPA regulation. Hayden’s municipal sewer system is not designed to accept and treat septic waste.
"Enforcement of federal criminal environmental laws promotes healthy safe communities for all of us,” U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson observed. “Unfortunately, The Rooter Guy LLC put its bottom line above its obligation to conduct its business in a way that protects public safety. The successful investigation and prosecution in this case sends a clear message that businesses who put profits ahead of public safety will be brought to justice."
“Dumping unpermitted septic waste into a wastewater treatment plant not only damages expensive equipment, but can sicken or injure people,” said Scot Adair, Acting Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Idaho. “By refusing to comply with the law, the defendants jeopardized the health and safety of an entire community. Today’s guilty plea shows that those who ignore this country’s environmental laws can expect to face the consequences in court.”
The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency with the assistance of the City of Hayden, the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Secret Service, and the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.