MISSOULA – Two former corporate officers of USA Brass Company, Inc. a Bozeman-based company that cleaned and polished spent ammunition casings for resale and reuse, pled guilty to separate offenses related to the company’s unauthorized discharges of lead-contaminated waste water into the City of Bozeman’s sewer system in 2013. U.S. Magistrate Jerimiah Lynch presided over the plea hearings held in Missoula on August 2 and August 9.
Zachary Daniel Flanagan, a 26-year old resident of Bozeman, Montana and former Chief Executive Officer of USA Brass, pled guilty to a felony false statement offense for making false representations to the pretreatment coordinator for the City of Bozeman’s Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) regarding the nature of lead-contaminated industrial waste water generated by USAB to gain permission to discharge the wastewater into the city’s sewer system.
Flanagan pled guilty to an information alleging that he falsely stated in a November 2013 email to the pretreatment coordinator that USAB’s laboratory analysis of the waste water had been reviewed by an environmental consultant who concluded that the lead-contaminated waste water “would be fine to send down the sewer.” Flanagan admitted that the statement was false because the consultant had not reviewed analytical results and had not concluded that the waste water was suitable for discharge to the city sewer. Sentencing for Flanagan is scheduled for November 15, 2018.
Nolan Michael Schimpf, a 26-year old resident of Bozeman, Montana, and former Chief Production Officer of USA Brass, pled guilty to a misdemeanor count under the federal Clean Water Act for negligently discharging the lead-contaminated waste water into the Bozeman POTW without authorization from September 2013 to December 2013, in violation of the City’s pretreatment program that regulates industrial discharges of pollutants into the City’s Publicly Owned Treatment Works. Schimpf is scheduled to be sentenced on November 16, 2018.
The EPA’s criminal investigation into the company’s waste water disposal practices followed a 2013 OSHA investigation into lead exposure of workers at the USA Brass facility that resulted in OSHA citations for worker safety violations. USA Brass has since closed the Bozeman business.
"The defendants jeopardized public health and safety by discharging lead contaminated wastewater into public sewage systems, and lied to a local City official to obtain permission for the discharges,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Martinez of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Montana. “This case sends a clear signal that EPA will hold accountable those who violate laws designed to protect our communities and the environment.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric E. Nelson. It was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, Montana Office.