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On May 5, in the U.S. District Court in Columbia, S.C., James Goldman, former vice president and secretary of Tin Products, Inc. of Lexington, S.C., Melanie Purvis, former environmental supervisor at Tin Products, and George Metts, former wastewater treatment operator were each sentenced, in a case involving an illegal wastewater discharge from the Tin Products facility.
Goldman was sentenced to spend 18 months in prison and serve 100 hours of community service. Purvis was sentenced to five months in prison, five months home detention, and a $7,500 fine. Metts was sentenced to six months home detention, five years probation and 100 hours of community service.
Sentencing of Tin Products was stayed because the company is out of business. Tin Products manufactured tin-based compounds known as "organotins" for use in the manufacture of plumbing pipes, glass coatings and fixtures.
The charges arose from illegal wastewater discharges of "organotins" from the Tin Products facility into sewers leading to the Two Notch Publically Owned Treatment Works from July 1999 to February 2000. The "organotins" passed through the sewage treatment plant and entered Red Bank Creek, a tributary of the Congaree River, and killed nearly 1,000 fish.
The discharges from Tin Products eventually caused the treatment plant to close. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Protection and the EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbia, S.C., and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.