Justice Department and EPA File Complaint Against Norfolk Southern for Unlawful Discharge of Pollutants and Hazardous Substances in East Palestine Derailment
A grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging a North Lawrence man with violating the Clean Water Act by dumping wastewater into tributaries of the Tuscarawas River, said Carole S. Rendon, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Adam D. Boylen, 45, was indicted on four counts of violating the Clean Water Act by making unpermitted discharges.
“This defendant willingly dumped wastewater into streams, fouling the water and killing aquatic life,” Rendon said. “He put his convenience ahead of the public’s welfare. We remain committed to protecting our environment, and this defendant will now be held accountable for his actions.”
“Protecting our water is critical, both for the health and safety of our citizens and our wildlife,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “We will continue to assist in this case and others like it to protect Ohio.”
“Our environmental laws help keep illegal waste out of local waterways and protect clean water and public health,” said John Gauthier, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Ohio. “The illegal discharge in this case killed a substantial number of fish and caused serious damage to critical wildlife habitat. Today’s indictment is the direct result of the strong working relationship that EPA has built with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels.”
Boylen was a driver employed by an Ohio-based trucking company. Boylen’s job was to load wastewater generated from corporate facilities into a tanker truck and to drive the wastewater to a designated facility located in Pennsylvania for proper disposal. The wastewater contained surfactants capable of killing vegetation and fish, according to court documents.
Instead of delivering the wastewater to Pennsylvania, Boylen drove the tanker truck to remote locations in Tuscarawas County and central-eastern Ohio and emptied the wastewater containing surfactants into waters of the United States, according to court documents.
Boylen is charged with dumping the wastewater into two different tributaries of the Tuscarawas River, a wetland adjacent to the Tuscarawas River, and the Beach City Reservoir, on numerous occasions between April 18 and May 4, 2016.
White foam flowed down tributaries and streams as a result of Boylen’s actions. In one instance, the foam traveled four miles downstream from the location where the tanker truck was emptied. Vegetation was killed at all the locations. Approximately 709 fish were killed in one of the tributaries, and collectively, approximately 3,231 minnows, crayfish, frogs, and tadpoles were killed, according to court documents.
If convicted, the sentence in this case will be determined by the court after consideration of the federal sentencing guidelines which depend upon a number of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offenses and the unique characteristics of the violations. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benedict S. Gullo and Brad J. Beeson. The case was investigated by the United States and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies, the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Stark County Sheriff’s Offices, the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Offices, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.