Processing Magazine

Wastewater Plant Managers Indicted for Worker Death

June 16, 2010
The fatal poisoning of an Ohio wastewater-plant worker two years ago has led to indictments against a company, two managers and an executive, reports In indictments released Wednesday, United Oil Recovery Services Inc. and safety manager David J. Weber, were each charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, violation of wastewater permit, deviation from pre-treatment permit and criminal endangering. The company''s president, David C. Brown, and plant manager, Jay E. Black, each face a count of criminal endangering. The Ohio Attorney General''s Office says wastewater was being improperly treated using sodium hydrosulfide at the company''s Middletown plant, causing a chemical reaction that released lethal doses of hydrogen sulfide, which killed United Oil employee Thomas Rogers on June 21, 2008. The county coroner ruled that Rogers died from hydrogren sulfide poisoning. The death was classified as an accident. In 2007, the Ohio EPA had issued a permit to United Oil for the pre-treatment of wastewater, but the company allegedly "deviated from the terms of its permit by using sodium hydrosulfide to speed up the treatment process," the Attorney General said.