federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging two Ohio men and a Youngstown-based
company each with one count of violating the Clean Water Act.
W. Lupo, 62, of Poland, Michael L. Guesman, 34, of Cortland, and Hardrock
Excavating LLC are each accused of illegally discharging brine and oil-based
drilling mud into a stormwater drain on numerous occasions, according to the
U.S. Department of Justice.
drain flowed into the Mahoning River, according to the indictment.
The indictment also states that the incident occurred between
Nov. 1, 2012 and Jan. 31.
"We will continue to
assist in the federal prosecution of this case but we will also pursue with the
Ohio Department of Natural Resources any other violations of Ohio's
environmental protection laws," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "This
case is a reminder that we should look at making state law equal to federal law
when it comes to protecting the waters of Ohio."
to the indictment and related court documents Lupo owns Hardrock Excavating
LLC, which is 2761 Salt Springs Road, in Youngstown. The company provides
services to the oil and gas industry in Ohio
including the storage of brine and oil-based drilling mud. There are
approximately 58 mobile storage tanks on the company's property. Each tank
holds approximately 20,000 gallons.
is alleged that Lupo directed Guesman, an employee, to empty some of the waste
liquid stored at the facility into a nearby wastewater drain on or about Nov.
1, 2012, according to the indictment. Lupo allegedly directed Guesman to
conduct this activity only after no one else was at the facility and only after
indictment states that Guesman emptied some of the waste liquid at the facility
into the nearby stormwater drain using a hose on numerous occasions between
Nov. 1, 2012 and Jan. 31.
Jan. 31, the waste liquid emptied into the storm drain included a mixture of
brine and oil-based drilling mud, according to the indictment.
sample of the discharge taken from Jan. 31 was black in color and a subsequent
analysis showed the presence of several hazardous pollutants, including benzene
and toluene, according to the indictment.
Lupo and Guesman are found guilty of violating the Clean Water Act they could
be sentenced to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and be
forced to pay a fine of $50,000 per day of violation or $250,000, whichever is
corporations, the maximum punishment is five years of probation and a fine of
$50,000 per day of violation or $500,000, whichever is larger.
convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the court.