FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ENR THURSDAY, JULY 2, 1998 DOJ (202) 616-2765 USA (314) 539-6889

TDD (202) 514-1888

MISSOURI CONCRETE MAKER PLEADS GUILTY TO DUMPING CONCRETE

INTO CREEK THAT FLOWS INTO MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Washington, D.C. A Missouri concrete maker and one of its executives pled guilty today to dumping concrete and waste water into a creek that flows into the Mississippi River, announced the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Department of Justice.

At a hearing in front of U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry in the Eastern District of Missouri, Breckenridge Material Company pled guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Water Act. The company is charged with discharging untreated waste water and concrete into Deer Creek, which flows into the Mississippi River. It has agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and will serve a three year probation.

"Today's guilty plea should serve as a warning: If a business does not comply with its permitted discharges, we will investigate and prosecute," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources. "We are serious about full compliance under the Clean Water Act. The Mississippi River is a national treasure, and we will work hard to protect it for the American people."

In addition to the company's plea, Donald Fix, the Environmental Manager for Breckenridge, pled guilty to the negligent discharge of pollutants, a criminal misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act. He faces up to one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and five years probation.

Breckenridge had a permit to discharge only waste water that had been treated to eliminate its corrosive nature. Water that is contaminated with a corrosive substance like concrete can kill fish, plants and other aquatic life. It could also cause a skin reaction in humans and should not be taken internally.

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In June 1995, company drivers dumped concrete and waste water that had not been treated into Deer Creek. An investigation began when area residents found unusual foamy substances in the Creek.

"All industrial users of our natural resources have an obligation to use those resources responsibly, in compliance with the law, so that we and our children can continue to benefit from clean air, clean water and a clean environment," said Edward L. Dowd, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. "We will continue to investigate alleged environmental violations and prosecute all violators."

During its probation the company must develop an environmental compliance program to prevent such violations from occurring in the future. In addition, it must discuss the facts surrounding its violation and guilty plea with the Missouri Concrete Association.

The company's $250,000 fine includes up to $150,000 in expenditures for restitution, remediation or environmental compliance.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted jointly by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice. The Missouri Attorney General's Office and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources provided assistance.

"Our rivers and streams are valuable resources that belong to everyone. Working with all our partners and the public, we can and will protect our waters and the public from the pollution caused by illegal waste disposal," said Steven Howell, Special Agent in Charge of the EPA Criminal Investigation Division's St. Louis office.

"We will continue to work with our counterparts in the federal government to aggressively enforce environmental laws that help keep our waterways clean," said Missouri Attorney

General Jay Nixon. "This case has been another excellent example of state and federal cooperation to protect the environment."

Sentencing is set for September 18, 1998 before Judge Perry.

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