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The former owner of an oil-and-gas wastewater and brine storage facility, located in Youngstown, Ohio, has pleaded guilty to violations of the Clean Water Act that resulted in the contamination of the Mahoning River and one of its tributaries.
Benedict Lupo, 63, of Poland, Ohio, owned Hardrock Excavating LLC -- a company that provided storage services for oil and gas drilling companies. Hardrock Excavating stored brine and oil-based drilling mud used in fracking. Lupo admitted to instructing one of his employees, Mark Goff, 46, of Newton Falls, Ohio, to discharge some of the waste into a wastewater drain at the beginning of October 2012, court documents said. Goff has also been charged with one count of illegally discharging waste in violation of the Clean Water Act.
Court documents claim that there was more than one occasion on which waste was discharged through the wastewater drain at the facility. The last time was around the middle of November 2012. Goff was instructed to empty some of the storage tanks at night when there was nobody else at the facility, according to a statement released by Steven Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Lupo will be sentenced on June 16, 2014. The maximum penalty for individuals violating the Clean Water Act is three years in jail, one year of supervised release and a fine of $50,000 per day of violation or $250,000.