Legal Issues and Regulation and Energy & Environment and Environment and Water quality and Law

Judge gives probation to three men for water violations

April 5, 2011

A federal judge in Indianapolis has given probation to three businessmen whose wastewater treatment company dumped 300,000 gallons of untreated waste into the city's sewer system.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker sentenced 61-year-old Michael R. Milem of Carmel, 44-year-old Mark R. Snow of Brazil and Joseph T. Biggio, 51, of Illinois after accepting their guilty pleas for violating the Federal Clean Water Act. They'll serve three years' probation and pay fines of at least $5,000.

Prosecutors say Milem and Snow worked as managers at Ecological Systems Inc. in 2009 when they ordered lower-level employees to pump 300,000 gallons of untreated waste oils and other substances directly into city sewers.

The oily wastewater flowed from manholes and into the yards of several Indianapolis homes.

Ecological Systems, 4910 W. 86th St., treated industrial waste that contained numerous toxic pollutants such as oil, lubricants, coolants, landfill leachate, benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylene.  The company shut down in October 2010, the court said.

Milem and Snow were both involved in making the decision to illegally bypass the ESI treatment system completely and discharge directly to the sewer. Biggio, who was executive vice president between 2001 and 2007, was involved in two schemes that violated the Clean Water Act.  Both involved falsifying environment reports to the city. 

Biggio was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000, and Milem and Snow were each ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.  Milem was placed on home detention for six months. Snow was ordered to give eight hours of community service per month for the three years he is on probation. Snow and Biggio were ordered to seek graduate classes in which to retell the circumstances of their conviction for the benefit of students learning environmental law and compliance.
 

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