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June 25, 2024
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CWA CrimeBox
Environmental Crimes Historic Conviction:  Fiscal Year 2023; Case ID# CR_3433(Georgia)
Bulk fuel tank drained into storm drain

One of 10 Clean Water Act Criminal Prosecutions in the State of Georgia (from 1989-2023)

The defendant in this case was employed as a driver delivering bulk fuel with a 3000 gallon tank truck. The incident that we write about here occurred prior to April 2023, wherein the defendant discovered the wrong fuel had been loaded for delivery to a customer in Pelham, GA.

The defendant admitted to draining the tank onto the ground near a gas station in Thomasville, releasing 3000 gallons of diesel that escaped down a storm drain to impact a series of creeks. During the incident, the Thomasville is situated in the Ochlockonee River watershed, which collects surface runoff and contaminants from 550 square miles of north Thomas, southwest Colquitt and southeast Baker Counties, runs through Florida to empty in the Gulf of Mexico. The creeks impacted by the discharge led to Ochlockonee River.

The defendant did not have authorization or a permit to release diesel fuel to the Ochlockonee River. Discharge of contaminants is controlled by a national permitting system that considers all registered contaminant sources and limits the discharge to a level the receiving water body can manage. Unpermitted discharges are a violation of the Clean Water Act.

The incident resulted in the emergency evacuation of a local elementary school as the diesel fuel collected in ditches around the school property. Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) undertook clean-up at considerable expense.

The defendant plead guilty to the violation of the CWA. Sentencing included a $5000 federal fine and a year of supervision-probation.

Federal Fine: $5,000; Probation: 12 months

CWA CrimeBox briefs are compiled from EPA Criminal Enforcement records.

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