Company fined for polluting Mahoning River with oilfield waste

June 1, 2015
Hardrock Excavating LLC has been fined $75,000 for violating the Clean Water Act by dumping oilfield waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River in 2012 and 2013.

Hardrock Excavating LLC has been fined $75,000 for violating the Clean Water Act by dumping oilfield waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River in 2012 and 2013.

After entering into a plea agreement, the company pleaded guilty on May 28 to one count of making a prohibited discharge in a waterway. The plea was made before U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent.

Hardrock, based in Youngstown, northeast Ohio, will also make a total of $25,000 in community payments. These will be split between the Friends of the Mahoning River and Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association.

The company could have been fined up to $500,000, local news site reported.

A part owner of the company, Ben Lupo, pleaded guilty in March 2014 to a federal dumping charge.

He was accused of ordering employees at Hardrock to repeatedly dump oil and gas well drilling sludge and brine intended for deep injection into a storm sewer that flows into the Mahoning River watershed. The waste contained diesel oil, benzene, toluene, barium and chlorides.

According to, Lupo was sentenced to 28 months in prison and agreed to pay more than $3 million in cleanup costs.

Two employees were also convicted for their role in dumping the waste.

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