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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 15, 2014

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Guilty pleas for violations of the Clean Water Act entered.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, announced today the entry of guilty pleas for violations of the Clean Water Act by Mark Pullyblank, 53, of Caledonia, NY, William Clements, 53, of Victor, New York, and Crane-Hogan Structural Systems, Inc., 3001 Brockport Road, Spencerport, New York, (which employs Pullyblank and Clements) before the Honorable Thomas J. McAvoy in federal district court in Binghamton, NY.

Crane-Hogan is a company that uses hydro-demolition to renovate concrete structures. Hydro-demolition uses high pressure water to remove concrete from buildings such as parking garages, dams, bridges, and highways prior to resurfacing. The waste-water from the hydrodemolition process contains a slurry of industrial waste including concrete residue which has a highly caustic pH and total suspended solids, both of which are pollutants under the Clean Water Act. Mark Pullyblank was Crane-Hogan’s Project Manager in charge of renovation projects at the Binghamton Governmental Center Parking Garage and Johnson City Wilson Hospital Parking Garage throughout 2008 and 2009. He directed workers to discharge concrete slurry into the Susquehanna River for portions of two years, and into the Binghamton-Johnson City Publically Owned Treatment Works (POTW) during the summer 2009, both without Clean Water Act permits and without treatment for the high pH. William Clements was also a Project Manager in charge of the Johnson City Wilson Hospital Parking Garage renovation who participated in the unpermitted POTW discharges in 2009.

The Clean Water Act was enacted into law in 1972. Since that time it has been illegal to discharge pollutants into waters of the United States without a permit and without approved pretreatment prior to discharge. The Susquehanna River is a navigable water of the United States that provides drinking water to many thousands of individuals. It traverses through New York State, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and flows into the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Mark Pullyblank and Crane-Hogan both plead guilty to felony violations of the Clean Water Act. William Clements pled guilty to a misdemeanor Clean Water Act violation. Pullyblank faces a maximum possible penalty of three years in prison and a $700,000 fine, plus supervised release thereafter. Crane-Hogan faces a maximum fine of $750,000 and five years of probation. If the plea agreement is accepted by the court, Crane-Hogan will be required to prepare and implement an environmental compliance plan to alter its policies and practices so as to reduce the likelihood of future criminal environmental conduct. William Clements faces a maximum possible term of incarceration of one year and a fine of $350,000 plus a term of supervised release. Sentencing will take place on January 23, 2014 in Binghamton, NY at 11:30AM for Mark Pullyblank, 1:30PM for Crane-Hogan, and 2:00PM for William Clements.

This case was investigated by Criminal Investigators with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigations, and Special Agents of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Assistance with this case has been provided by the New York State Office of General Services, the Binghamton City Engineer, and the Binghamton-Johnson City Publically Owned Treatment Works. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig Benedict. Questions may be directed to AUSA Benedict at 315-391-1110.

Updated January 29, 2015