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Press Release

Tampa Man Sentenced For Disposing Human Waste Into A Stream

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew yesterday sentenced Merlando Corlis (48, Tampa) to three years of probation for unlawful discharge of a pollutant. The Court also ordered him to pay a fine of $25,000 and to make a community service payment of $25,000 to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

Corlis pleaded guilty on May 4, 2016. 

According to court documents, from at least June 2012 through December 2013, at a property that he owned located at 4509 Orient Road in Tampa, Corlis and others acting at his direction used a vacuum tank to remove human waste from a septic tank and then unlawfully discharged the sewage into a stream, which ran from the East Lake to the Palm River. 

“Our nation’s environmental laws are designed to protect public health and safety,” said Andy Castro, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal enforcement program in Florida.  “Untreated sewage contains bacteria, parasites, and viruses. These pathogens can cause a wide variety of acute illnesses in both humans and animals. Today’s sentencing demonstrates that the EPA and its law enforcement partners will take action to protect communities and their local water supplies from pollution.”

This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Megan K. Kistler.

Updated August 10, 2016