Guilty plea for pollution violations, potentially harmful to humans

Our Louisiana readers understand that soil pollution can eventually pollute the surrounding waters through rain runoff. Water pollution can eventually contaminate riverbeds, lakebeds and eventually the ocean. Air pollution can harm humans as well as plant and animal life. Our state has laws in place to minimize pollution and to hold polluters responsible for their actions or inactions which may violate those laws.

Recently, a Louisiana company pled guilty to a violation of the Clean Water Act. A Houma company, CTCO Shipyard of Louisiana, LLC, pled guilty to a series of environmental law violations. The company was sentenced in federal court to pay fines of up to $500,000 and up to a five year probation period.

According to the court records, the company is required to test its effluent (liquid discharge) once per week to make certain that its levels of certain toxic elements are within the allowable levels. Further, the company is supposed to submit a report to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), showing the test results.

The Department of Justice court record shows that the company did not conduct the tests or submit the reports from June 2008 through January 2010. An Environmental Protection Agency agent who testified said that the “company tried to hide its illegal discharges of raw sewage into the Intracoastal Waterway Canal…”

There were no reports of illness or injury made at this time, however, pollutants have been known to have long-term as well as short-term consequences.

The DEQ involved in the case is charged with working with the federal government to protect the environment and human health.

Source: Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, “HOUMA COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY IN FEDERAL COURT TO FELONY VIOLATION OF CLEAN WATER ACT,” March 28, 2012

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