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Owner of Benn’s Church, Va., Sewage Treatment Plant Indicted for Clean Water Act Felony

Release Date: 8/14/2002
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – On August 13, 2002, a grand jury in the federal district court in Norfolk, Va., indicted Robert B. Gill, and his company, DLG Public Utility Corporation, Inc., for felony violations of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

The indictment charges that Gill and DLG unlawfully operated the company’s wastewater treatment facility in Benn’s Church, Va., which treats sewage from the Queen Anne’s Court housing development.

Under a Clean Water Act permit issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), this plant is authorized to discharge treated wastewater into Jones Creek, a tributary of the Pagan River. The permit imposes monthly monitoring requirements and imposes limits on discharges of pollutants, including ammonia, fecal coliform, total suspended solids, plus a biochemical oxygen demand - a measure of the oxygen in the creek that would be consumed by the discharge.

The seven-count indictment alleges that the defendants knowingly violated requirements of the plant’s Clean Water Act permit by discharging untreated sewage into the Jones River on June 2, 1999; failing to submit monthly water monitoring reports for March, April, May 1999; failing to properly staff and maintain the wastewater plant in May 1999; and failing to respond to DEQ telephone and mail inquiries in May and June, 1999.

In indictment is merely a formal accusation and is not itself proof of guilt. A criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and found guilty.

This case was investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, and Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

In a prior 1996 case, Mr. Gill was sentenced in federal court in Norfolk for falsifying laboratory reports required under the Clean Water Act. He was sentenced to 30 days home confinement, fined $2,500, ordered to pay $1,815 in restitution, and placed on three years probation for submitting false discharge monitoring reports in January 1994.

Mr. Gill -- then the vice president of Gill & Gill Environmental Services, Inc., of Hopewell, Va. -- sampled water discharges from schools in Isle of Wight County in eastern Virginia, and submitted discharge monitoring reports to the Virginia DEQ. Mr. Gill pleaded guilty on May 30, 1996 to one count of making a false statement on a discharge monitoring report.