Kanubhai Patel and Manubhai Patel, both of Woodstock, Ill., and Mukesh Patel of Schaumburg, Ill., were indicted on March 4 and charged with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The three were owners of New Tech Electronics, Inc. a now defunct Illinois electronics parts manufacturing firm.
Kanubhai Patel also is charged with making a false statement on a CWA permit application. The indictment alleges that from approximately Apr. 1997 to Dec. 2001, the New Tech facility violated its CWA discharge permit by discharging higher than permitted concentrations of acidic and caustic wastewater into the towns sewer system through a bypass hose.
The illegal discharges, which occurred every one to three weeks, were allegedly diluted in the sewer system by water from a garden hose placed into a manhole hidden from view by a parked car.
Discharging such high levels of acids and caustics into sewers can disrupt the normal processing of sewage and can lead to sewage treatment plant outflows that are harmful to fish and other aquatic life.
The Bensenville sewage treatment plant discharges into Addison Creek, which is a protected waterway. The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPAs Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from Bensenville wastewater treatment officials and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.
It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys Office in Chicago.