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CWA CrimeBox
Environmental Crimes Historic Conviction:  Fiscal Year 2006; Case ID# CR_1122(California)
Beverage company fined 1 million for discharging without pretreatment

July 4, 2024 738 am EDT

One of 72 Clean Water Act Criminal Prosecutions in the State of California (from 1989-2023)

The defendant in this case is the corporation and bottling company for a popular soft drink. In the course of production, waste materials are accumulated in the process water that are meant to be treated prior to discharge to the environment.

Federal district court in California was presented with the evidence that the defendant had been discharging untreated industrial process water to the Los Angeles River over a period of two years. Hazardous materials in the contaminated discharge stream included acid, grease and petroleum by-products. The defendant was charged with twelve counts of Clean Water Act violation, and plead guilty to all charges.

Sentencing for these CWA crimes, federal fines including criminal penalty of six hundred thousand dollars, civil penalty of $458,250, restitution to local agencies and a special assessment fee. Half of the criminal penalty was allocated to environmental projects of the Channel Islands National Parks, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Los Angeles County and the California Hazardous Materials Association.

"The discharge of oil into surface waters can, in sufficient quantities, create a fire hazard and can harm fish and other aquatic life." EPA Criminal Investigation Division

Criminal Penalty: $600,000; Civil Penalty: $458,250; Restitution: $40,000 Special Assessment: $1459

CWA CrimeBox briefs are compiled from EPA Criminal Enforcement records.

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