A California-based company operating a manufacturing facility in Olive Branch has been sentenced for illegally discharging wastewater.
According to court documents, View, Inc., previously plead guilty to a charge of negligently discharging wastewater into a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) without obtaining a valid state permit, in violation of 33 U.S.C. § 1319(c)(1)(A).
As part of its manufacturing process, View, Inc., discharges wastewater from glass cutting, grinding, washing, and polishing directly into two discharge points connected to the city’s sewer system.
View, Inc., is considered a significant industrial user, discharging approximately 248,000 gallons per day to the city’s POTW. In all, the company accounts for more than 38 percent of the POTW’s designed and permitted capacity of 537,000 gallons per day.
From approximately December 11, 2018, to around June 28, 2021, the company negligently violated a requirement of a pretreatment program by discharging without a permit.
“When companies place profit and convenience above public safety, we will do all we can to punish that behavior and protect the public,” U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner said. “This illegal discharge of wastewater into the public treatment facility demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety and wellbeing of citizens in our District and we applaud the stiff fines imposed by the court in this case.”
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock sentenced View, Inc., to a three-year term of probation and ordered the company to pay a fine in the amount of $3 million.
The court further ordered the company to make a community service payment to DeSoto County Regional Utility Authority in the total amount of $450,000 to be used for the sole purpose of expanding wastewater treatment capacity in the area.
As part of the resolution of the criminal charges, the company has also entered into a separate, but related, civil agreed order with the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality, which has assessed a civil penalty of $1.5 million.
“Unpermitted discharges of industrial wastewater can pose a serious threat to our nation’s wastewater treatment systems,” Charles Carfagno, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast Area Branch, stated. “This prosecution and today’s sentencing demonstrates that EPA and its partner agencies are committed to protecting the environment and pursuing those who chose to ignore environmental laws.”
The EPA, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality investigated this case.