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April 14, 2024
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CrimeBox


CWA CrimeBox for the week of June 26 to July 2, 2023

Environmental Crimes Historic Conviction:  Fiscal Year 2017; Case ID# CR_2924 
15 mile oil sheen on the Ohio River forces closure of drinking water intakes in two states

One of 56 Criminal Prosecutions in Ohio under the Clean Water Act (from 1989-2020)

The defendant in this case is an energy company operating a power generation facility at New Richmond, Ohio. In November 2016, the company was indicted with Clean Water Act charge for a summer 2014 spill of diesel fuel impacting the Ohio River.
An operator at the defendant's facility overfilled two above-ground fuel tanks.  The secondary containment measure that could have prevented the overflow from escaping the facility had unfortunately been left with a valve open. It is estimated 9000 gallons of diesel fuel reached the Ohio River, creating a visible sheen 15 miles downstream.
Intakes for downstream public drinking water supplies at Cincinatti and Louisville, Kentucky had to be shut off until the contamination plume cleared and source water tested suitable again.
In spite of a tremendous emergency response and clean up process including some 35 government and private sector agencies,  very little of the spilled oil product was recovered. The defendant reimbursed over $1.2 million for the response and dismantled its bulk fuel storage tanks.  Bulk fuel is no longer stored beside the river at the New Richmond power generation facility.
The defendant included in the plea agreement a payment of $100,000 to the Foundation for Ohio River Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural, ecological and economic value of the Ohio River through community education.  A public apology advertisement was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

 

Federal Fine: $1,000,000; Restitution:  $100,000 

 

 

 

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