Skip to main content
Press Release

Grease Hauling Company And Executives Sentenced For Clean Water Act Violations

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

Southern Grease Company, a grease hauling company that had been based in Dickson, Tennessee, was sentenced yesterday to pay a criminal fine of $280,000 and to forfeit an additional $113,500, announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  Southern Grease pleaded guilty in May 2015 to four felony violations arising from its illegal disposal of waste grease into municipal sewer systems.  U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger imposed this sentence and also ordered Southern Grease to make restitution to municipal authorities in Dickson and Clarksville, Tennessee.

Southern Grease, which contracted with restaurants and other customers in Tennessee and Kentucky to collect and dispose of the customers’ waste grease, illegally discharged waste grease into grease interceptors that were connected to the municipal sewer systems.  This illegal dumping of grease caused substantial damage to municipal sewer systems by clogging pipes and interrupting the operation of pump stations.  In December 2013 Southern Grease dumped waste grease into a grease interceptor in Clarksville, Tennessee, which resulted in the obstruction of pipes within the Clarksville sewer system and damage to a Clarksville pumping station, the operation of which was interrupted for cleaning and repairs. 

Previously, on February 1, 2016, Judge Trauger sentenced George Butterworth, 75, of Dickson, Tenn., to serve two months in prison and one year of supervised release.  Butterworth was President and an owner of Southern Grease, and had pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act; conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act; and to making false statements to agents with the Environmental Protection Agency.  Butterworth was also ordered to pay restitution to municipal authorities in Dickson and Clarksville.

On November 24, 2015, Judge Trauger sentenced Gerald McGee, 51, of Dickson, Tenn., to one month in prison plus two years of supervised release for his role in these offenses.  McGee was the Operations Manager for Southern Grease and was also convicted of three felony violations in connection with the illegal dumping of waste grease.  He was also ordered to pay restitution to municipal authorities in Dickson and Clarksville.

The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely.


Updated February 23, 2016