James M. Holden, operator of the Mount Pleasant, Tenn., wastewater treatment plant; and Marty Roddy, a plant employee; were charged on June 20 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee with submitting false wastewater treatment reports in violation of the Clean Water Act.
The charges allege that on 21 dates from January 2002 to October 2003, Roddy's initials appeared on test reports despite the fact that Roddy was absent from work on those days. Holden is accused of submitting the reports to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
The allegations further state that the 21 reports were inaccurate. Spot testing by TDEC found fecal coliform bacteria levels that were as much as 20,000 times greater than stated in the reports. Releasing wastewater with high levels of fecal coliform bacteria can present a health hazard to people and animals who come into contact with surface waters.
The case was investigated by special agents assigned to the Atlanta Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with support from TDEC. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in the Middle District of Tennessee.