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FISCAL YEAR: 2011
1. PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT: Michael R. Milem
S.D.  Indiana  1:10-CR-0031SEB-KPF
2. DEFENDANT: Joseph Theodore (Joe) Biggio
S.D.  Indiana  1:10-CR-0163WTL-KPF
3. DEFENDANT: Mark Ryan Snow
S.D.  Indiana  1:10-CR-0032WTL-KPF
The investigation began after the Indiana Department of Environmental Management received complaints from several Indianapolis homeowners that thick, oily wastewater was flowing into their yards from sewer manholes after a heavy rainfall on February 11, 2009. ESI was required to have sufficient storage capacity to handle wastewater from this type of wet weather event, but it did not. In order to deal with the excess wastewater, Mr. Milem and Mr. Snow decided to directly discharge untreated oily wastewater into the Indianapolis sewer system by pumping wastewater through hoses that bypassed ESI's treatment processes. As a result, the wastewater received no treatment, and was discharged into the sewer system leading to the City of Indianapolis' wastewater treatment plant. The discharge continued for approximately eight hours and resulted in a discharge of approximately 300,000 gallons of untreated wastewater. In the hours after this discharge, the oily sludge-like waste emerged from several sewer manholes downstream of the ESI facility, contaminating residential properties.

The subsequent investigation revealed that ESI had not been adequately treating the waste it took from customers for reclamation for a significant period of time, in part because major pieces of equipment in the treatment process, such as pumps, needed to be repaired or replaced, and because badly-needed storage space was not available at the facility. Investigators also determined that ESI had misrepresented to EPA and Indiana the storage capacity it had to handle such a rainfall event as the one that occurred on February 11, 2009.

Mr. Biggio, as the Executive Vice President of Operations, knew that ESI was hiding its noncompliance in several ways. Instead of reporting all of its wastewater samples to the city, as required by its permit, he "cherry picked" the data and only reported the "best" samples whose analytic results reflected lower concentrations of certain pollutants. Similarly, wastewater was collected after rainfalls, resulting in diluted samples that could be reported as "lower" pollution levels to the city. This practice of submitting false sampling results, along with making false statements to the authorities, attempted to disguise the fact that pollution discharge limits were being exceeded on a regular basis. The company's Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan stated it had millions of gallons more capacity than actually existed to handle spills and rain events.

February 26, 2010
Milem and Snow were each charged with one count of violating the CWA {33 U.S.C. 1342(b)(8)}.

CITATION: 33 U.S.C. 1342(b)(8)
September 30, 2010
Biggio was charged with two counts of violating the CWA {33 U.S.C. 1319(c)(2)(A) - knowingly violates} and one count of false statements, a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001.

Biggio pled guilty to all three counts.
CITATION: 18 U.S.C. 1001, 33 U.S.C. 1319(c)(2)(a)
November 12, 2010
The defendants pled guilty to the charges.
April 4, 2011
Milem was sentenced to 36 months probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 federal fine.

Read more in the EPA Press Release.

Snow was sentenced to 36 months probation and ordered to pay a federal fine in the amount of $5,000.

Biggio was sentenced to 36 months probation and ordered to pay a $15,000 federal fine.
STATUTE:
  • Clean Water Act (CWA)

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