Branson Man Indicted for Clean Water Act Violations, Falsified Reports of Pollution Discharge
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Branson, Mo., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for making false statements.
Earl Patrick Kearney, 60, of Branson, was charged in a 12-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo.
Kearney was employed by the Overlook subdivision and the Morningside development in Stone County, Mo., to operate their wastewater treatment facilities from May 2010 to August 2011. Kearney was responsible for conducting wastewater sampling at the facilities and submitting those results to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Today’s indictment alleges that Kearney altered the reports he submitted to the state so that it appeared the Overlook subdivision and the Morningside development were in compliance with their wastewater discharge permits.
Kearney submitted quarterly Wastewater Discharge Monitoring Reports that reported sampling results for total phosphorous, one of the pollutants that is required to be reported for both facilities. All of the reports represented that the Overlook subdivision and Morningside development wastewater treatment facilities were in compliance with their permits. However, the actual laboratory testing data that Kearney received, following his submission of samples for testing, placed both wastewater treatment facilities in violation of their permits during every quarter for which samples were analyzed. After Kearney received the laboratory testing data, he allegedly caused the numbers to be altered on the reports that were subsequently submitted to the state.
The Overlook subdivision wastewater treatment facility discharged to Table Rock Lake. The Morningside development wastewater treatment facility discharged to an unnamed tributary to Brush Creek, a tributary of Table Rock Lake.
Kearney is charged with five counts of making false statements in regard to the Overlook subdivision reports and seven counts of making false statements in regard to the Morningside development reports.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.