News Feature | November 8, 2016

Septic Company Fined $900K For Dumping Sewage Into Manholes

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

manhole.reg

For illegally dumping waste into manholes in Fort Wadsworth, NY, and into Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, A&L Cesspool Service Corporation will have to pay $900,000 in penalties.  

According to SILive.com, the company pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to conspiracy “to violate the Clean Water Act, unlawfully discharging pollutants into a United States waterway and four counts of illegally dumping pumped sewer waste in violation of its permit.”

Officials said that the company did hold permits for disposing the liquid waste that it had removed from blocked sewer lines at designated wastewater treatment facilities.

Authorities said that workers then illegally dumped the waste at different locations, which included “manholes at Fort Wadsworth, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and a city housing authority development in Brooklyn, as well as in the Gowanus Canal.”

Under the Clean Water Act, it is considered a crime to “knowingly dump pollutants into a U.S. waterway, such as the Gowanus Canal, without a permit or in violation of a permit.”

"Environmental laws, such as those violated by A&L Cesspool, are put in place to protect us from grossly negligent practices that threaten the cleanliness of our communities and put the public’s health at risk," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. told DNAInfo New York.  "Circumventing procedures to properly dispose of pollutants is a serious crime, and those who engage in this type of activity won’t get away with it."

Prosecutors said that A&L will have to pay “a $375,000 fine, hand over $350,000 in criminal forfeiture and also make a $175,000 ‘community service payment’ to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for projects that must directly benefit the Gowanus area.”

"Waste that is disposed of illegally jeopardizes the health and safety of the entire community, so it's imperative that septic haulers adhere to the appropriate waste disposal regulations and laws," Vernesa Jones-Allen, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. EPA, Criminal Investigations Division, New York said to SILive.

Image credit: "Manhole, July 2012" Grangernite © 2012 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/