By TONI ELLINGTON
On August 5, 2014, U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ordered the former owner of an Ohio oil and gas company to serve 28 months in jail and pay a $25,000 fine for dumping fracking waste in violation of the Clean Water Act. The case involved the actions of Defendant Benedict Lugo, who was the owner of Youngstown, Ohio based company, Hardrock Excavating, LLC. Lugo pled guilty to ordering employees to discharge the fracking wastewater into a tributary of the Mahoney River, and then lying about it. The Mahoney River supplies drinking water to the towns of Newton Falls and Sebring, Ohio.
The illegal discharges occurred over thirty times between November 1, 2012, and January 31, 2013. Hardrock Excavating, LLC provided services to the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including storage of brine and oil-based drilling mud. According to witnesses, the company was running out of wastewater storage capacity.
Lupo could have been fined up to $250,000 under the Clean Water Act.
For assistance with your Clean Water Act compliance issues or litigation, contact Toni Ellington at (504) 599-8500.