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Clean Water Act Criminal Prosecution: Georgia Chemical Plant Manager

Prepared for the Katten Safety Advisory Group
Advisory | October 18, 2018

Environmental and workplace safety violations continue to lead to individual criminal liability, including jail time, for both corporate officials and mid-level management employees. Most often, mid-level management and operational employees are held liable under the Clean Water Act's broad criminal prohibitions against the negligent or knowing discharge of pollutants. See 33 U.S.C. § 1319(c). Frequently, what initiates or focuses the government's criminal enforcement in these matters are false statements or obstruction in connection with a violation. Earlier this month, in a recent example of this pattern, a plant manager for the Apollo Industries chemical mixing plant in Smyrna, Georgia was arraigned on federal Clean Water Act charges and Title 18 charges for making false statements to a federal agent. See United States v. Conde, No. 18-cr-00377 (N.D. Ga. arraignment Oct. 2, 2018). The plant manager allegedly had instructed employees to wash away a spilled toxic and hazardous chemical, and then lied to agents for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding his role in the spill.

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