Third Person Charged in D&L Brine Dumping Case
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Another employee of Hardrock Excavating LLC has been charged with criminally dumping drilling wastewater into the Mahoning River, the government said today.
Mark A. Goff, 46, of Newton Falls was charged with one count of violating the Clean Water Act, just days after Hardrock's former president, Ben Lupo, pleaded guilty to similar charges in federal court in Cleveland.
Goff is the third individual charged in the case, which was filed early last year against Lupo and Hardrock employee Michael Guesman. Guesman pleaded guilty to the charge and on March 21 was sentenced to three years probation and 300 hours of community service.
Lupo, the former president of now-defunct D&L Energy, initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but on Monday changed his plea to guilty. He is scheduled for sentencing June 16.
According to the government, Lupo directed Goff to empty some of the liquid drilling waste stored at D&L's site at 2761 Salt Springs Road in Youngstown into a nearby wastewater drain on or about Oct. 1, 2012.
That drain spilled into a tributary of the Mahoning River and eventually carried the waste into the river, the government said.
Lupo directed Goff to dump the waste after dark when no one else could observe his activities, and, according to the charges, "emptied some of the lighter phase of the waste liquid being stored at the facility into the drain using a hose on numerous occasions over the next two months."
The last time Goff emptied the waste was on or about Nov. 12, 2012, court documents said.
"Those who make it their business to harvest from under Ohio its great natural resources have a responsibility to the men, women and children who drink its water, live on its land and breathe its air," said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, who announced the charges this morning. "This defendant broke the law and must be held accountable."
The statutory maximum for violating the Clean Water Act for individuals is three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $50,000 per day of violation or $250,000, whichever is larger.
“Mark Goff is another individual who carried out orders to release contaminated brine into Ohio’s waterways. It is crucial to the safety of our communities that everyone involved in this heinous crime be held accountable for their actions,” DeWine said.
Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said this case is just one of a small percentage of violations that warrants criminal prosecution. “This general disregard for the law will not be tolerated in Ohio and we will work with our partners at the local, state and federal agencies to make sure the responsible parties are held accountable,” he said.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Beeson is prosecuting the case following an investigation by the Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, U.S. EPA, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Youngstown Department of Public Works and the Youngstown Fire Department.
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